Another lockdown is facing us – but this time let’s be ready to face it! While you’ve probably figured out how to shop and make appointments during Lockdown, there’s still one big factor to take into account! Boredom! Especially those of us with children at home, it’s hard to keep busy and productive every day. While I’m sure there’s enough technical stuff to keep you busy – like scrubbing your showers or visiting the cracks between your couch cushions – you might be looking for more fun and enjoyable activities to keep you and your family occupied. Since Sukkos is around the corner, and I’m sure heavy on your mind, here are some practical tips to enhance your Sukkah and keep your whole family busy until the Chag arrives.
Sukkah decorations can really make your entire holiday. It’s where you are going to be spending the next seven days, so make sure you are really going to enjoy it! And remember, whatever work you put in now will pay off for years to come, when each year you can just pull readymade crafts out of a box and hang them up.
The first step is to choose a theme. Decide if you want a minimalist modern look, a warm homey feel, a colorful look, etc. Then sit down with your kids (or yourself!) and start creating!
I get most of my supplies from Birkat David art store on Bar Ilan 8. They happen to be open during the lockdown, and they also do deliveries! They answer WhatsApp’s pretty quickly at +972 50-910-6754 (though you really have to be able to squeeze out a bit of Hebrew.) Plus they really have anything you can dream of to make crafts. What more can you ask for?
For a minimalist look, you can buy a selection of fake flowers, or many different sizes of mirrors and wooden boards to glue them onto. If you happen to have a Gedolim calendar or one with pretty Judaic art, you can cut those pictures out for a clean, beautiful addition. Birkat David and many other stores also carry small string lights, or a string of light bulbs which give a classy, modern touch.
If you’re going for a colorful vibe, they have all different kinds of fancy paper for chains, glitter, sequins, markers and stickers, and of course canvases with paints.
Your child may not have come home with crafts this year due to the Israeli shut down of Gan and school, so why not let them go crazy! A simple craft idea is to let your children paint a canvas or paper however they like, using sponges, brushes, or even their fingers. When it’s dry, and add the names of the Ushpizin, or “Bruchim Haba’im” on top for a stunning finished product.
To give a homey feel to your Sukkah, you might want to cover your walls with material. You can find cloth in many shops between the Yaffo and Hadavidka train stops. To hang the material, make sure you have a straight edge of your cloth, and start by stapling at one corner of your Sukkah with a staple gun. Make sure to pull the cloth tight, so it doesn’t sag or get uneven. To preserve your Sukkah walls, make sure to staple only on the thick poles, and not on the thin wood of your boards. When you get to your windows, try cutting just around the two sides and the bottom, to create a curtain. This way you can pin it up for some light, or let it fall down if you’re looking for a bit of privacy. You can also cut a slit up the middle to make two separate curtains to pull to the sides. This is sure to give your Sukkah a warm and cozy atmosphere.
If you’re looking to finish off your Sukkah with some readymade decorations, Osher Ad has a large selection to choose from. You can also find some in many other large stores like Shaarei Revacha, or even Yesh and Pyup.
I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about when I mention the large Sukkos pop up shop at the corner of Bar Ilan Shmuel Hanavi. Besides for boards and Schach, you can purchase a readymade tarp with an old Israeli scene, or a life-size print of the western wall. This makes for beautiful decor without any artistic efforts on your part.
Even though it hasn’t rained in months here, we often get a friendly surprise on Sukkos, so be sure to laminate any nice crafts you have. Even printouts or calendar cut-outs can easily be saved from year to year with this extra precaution. There’s still a printing shop open called Grapchik on Yirmiyahu 46, that should be able to get the job done. They can be reached at +972 2-500-2321 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whichever direction you choose, decorating your Sukkah can be a fun bonding experience, that is truly productive. The more effort and care you put in, the more you’ll enjoy the fruits of your labor. Your own unique style and taste is what gives it the best feeling. So trust yourself, and have a good time! Chag Someach!