Sukkot is my favorite Jewish holiday for many reasons. First, the entire holiday is about inviting the entire earth to find sanctuary under G-d’s covering and welcoming the stranger. It’s such a contrast to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, which tend to laser focus on Israel. Second, it’s a time to give thanks! After doing such hard spiritual work (reconciling with one another, taking an account of our souls and asking forgiveness), the whole holiday is beckoning us to relax, give thanks and enjoy the fruits of complete surrender. Third, it’s like so Autumn-y. Yep, I said it. I love Autumn. Perhaps that makes me basic (#PSL), or maybe that makes me a fan of cinnamon, nutmeg and flannel. Either way, the week-long Thanksgiving gives all the good feels.
Pretty much every year I say “Wow, the holidays really snuck up on me.” Followed by “next year I’m totally going to plan for Sukkot in June.” Never happens, and especially not this year. Not that the baby is an excuse, but giving birth is no small task and frankly it’s only been a couple weeks that I’ve been able to walk around like a normal person since May.
You see that bunting in the distance? Yeah, that’s our sukkah. Except it’s not a sukkah, not really. We have this awesome deck out on our front porch with a tree canopy overhead. We were going to buy bamboo siding to put around the deck, but couldn’t find any at Home Depot, so instead I wrapped the beams with some fabric I had lying around. Because we already have the tree canopy, figuring out schach wasn’t really a thing, so I made some last minute Autumn-y bunting with the plaid flannel had leftover from Alaina’s Baby Shower. I affixed the bunting to the roof on one end and the trees on the other, and there you go – a sukkah! Sort of.
Reality? Well, I wasn’t going to write about our very non-official sukkah for fear of being ostracized, but then I read this article from Kveller by Mayim Bialik called “I Went to Work on Sukkot.” I know, everyone drop your jaw right now. In it she said something that really hit home for me:
“I wasn’t sure if I should be so public about me working on the holiday, but I have never claimed to be perfect in observance, and I hope that by sharing ways I make observance fit my life, I can give someone else the support to know that it’s not all or nothing as we learn and grow, that while we are on any particular path, we can still enjoy it even if it’s not moving exactly where – or as fast as – we want it to.”
I have never claimed my observance to be perfect either. In fact, I don’t want it to be. As our family grows we discover that there are things that work for us and other things that really don’t. Some observances we’ve adopted more stridently while others we’ve dropped altogether. I tend to believe it’s more important that my children know what the holiday is all about and continue to observe the holiday into their adulthood, and the best way I know how to do that is to create lasting, special memories that bring real significance to the heritage we want to pass down to them.
So what does bunting have to do with all my previous paragraphs? Bunting makes everything funner! You may recall my earlier bunting tutorial that was rather laborious. Well, forget that for now. This is my cheater’s easy bunting tutorial. Takes hardly any time and looks great!
What you’ll need:
– Different fabrics, your choice
– A pen or fabric pencil
– Card stock of some sort (I just cut up a folder given to us from the hospital)
– Sewing machine or Serger (Serger is preferable)
1. Draw the shape you’d like your bunting pieces to be onto the card stock, and cut out that shape. This is your template.
2. Trace around the template onto your fabric, and cut out the bunting pieces. I cut about 150 pieces. To cut your time in half, double your fabric while cutting out the pieces.
3. Organize your bunting pieces into the order you want and stack them in a pile.
4. With your serger or sewing machine, sew the top of each piece, overlapping them. Feed the pieces through one by one until all of them are used up. If you are using a sewing machine, leave about 3/8″ seem at the top.
5. That’s it! Hang up your bunting and invite the neighbors over!