We Graduated to an Olive Oil Menorah
This essay contains three affiliate links for menorah-related supplies at the end of this post, and here is a link to my disclosure statement.
The image above is from Christmas Eve 2022, which was also the 7th night of Chanukah that year. I love being able to combine the two holidays and this was particularly special because we were given an olive oil menorah as a gift. In hindsight, it was also special because it was the last Christmas we celebrated with my mother before she passed away a few months later. It was a modest gathering.
Moms are wonderful for keeping traditions. My mom loved making Christmas cookies and going to midnight mass, yet she just as eagerly joined in for menorah lighting and latkes.
On the other side of the family we inherited my mother-in-law's 1960s-era mini-menorah which she lit with colorful paraffin candles, a tradition we continued when, later in life, she lived with us. We eventually graduated to a traditionally shaped and larger menorah--brass with a thin gloss of silver--from Cost Plus World Market. This one, too, used candles and we relied on my sister-in-law to bring a box of them each year during one of the 8 nights, gradually moving on from paraffin to beeswax candles.
It was always in the back of my mind that we should have an olive oil menorah, being in the olive oil business and all, and when a friend found out that I did not own one immediately rushed one via FedEx from New Jersey to arrive just before our Christmas Eve 2022 Chanukah dinner. It was quite novel for us, and highly evocative as the celebration is about the miracle of a cruse of olive oil lasting 8 days.
When I worked in the city I was never home before sundown, so menorah lighting in those days was limited to when I felt like it or reserved for that one night of an extended family gathering. Today, however, the older I become our seasonal rituals hold more meaning, and as I work from home there is no excuse not to take time to strike a match and light the lights.
This olive oil menorah is the largest and most showy one yet, but it is called the Festival of Lights, after all. Here is a photo of our three chanukiot.
Each little cup olds about 10 ml of oil, so all 8 nights consume a total of 440 ml of oil, including the shamash candle position. As I recall, 10 ml of oil lasted well over an hour.
Last year I had a lot of older arbequina on hand to use, however, this year we're short of oil, and I don't want to use my good stuff, so I've been looking at options and found this: Lampante (lamp oil) grade Kosher Olive Oil at $18 for 946 ml (32 oz), so $9 per year. I haven't yet tried it, but the price is right. Here is a link to the large menorah we were given, and there are many other choices online. If you make a purchase, read the fine print as it looks as if many are "cups, candles, and oil sold separately", which gives the insight that this style could be used either with oil or candles. Lighting the oil avoided having candles melt into each other or fall, and the lights do last a long time.
If you use candles, there are more and more choices available in beeswax. Here is the link to the Amazon.com page for the entire selection available there: Beeswax Chanukah candles. I like that they come in smooth or honeycomb textured choices and in natural beeswax or rainbow colors. They also offer white honeycomb textured or blue and white honeycomb textured, too. If you use either of the reference links to make a purchase on Amazon.com, I may earn a small commission as an Amazon Associate if the purchase qualifies.
Chanukah starts Thursday, December 7th, so if you need anything from my shop and order by noon on 12/04 you'll have it before the first night anywhere in the 48 states because of ShipBob 2-Day Express shipping.
If you are looking for an olive tree for a gift, we can still make it to its destination before the last night of Chanukah at this point. Folks east of the Rockies should order by noon on 12/04, and if you're west of the Rockies the nursery suggests you order your trees no later than noon on 12/11.
Happy Chanukah, and may the bright light of hope always light the dark places.