“Build” an Indoor Sukkah

GourdsLet’s say you can’t build an outdoor sukkah. And you don’t have a porch to decorate that helps you simulate a real sukkah. That’s OK – because there is an alternative.

If you have woods and farmer’s markets nearby, you can decorate your usual eating space. And you can “imagine” your breakfast room or dining room into an indoor sukkah.

On October 3, we start 8 Weeks of Hanukkah Specials. Let your friends and family know to sign up at JewishHolidaysInABox.com to get our free weekly ideas AND our weekly specials.

To see if someone had already thought of this indoor sukkah concept, I Googled “indoor sukkah.” And I was purely delighted to find a great post called “Welcome to the Indoor Sukkah” from the wonderful Rabbi Phyllis Sommer, also known as Ima On the Bima.

Rabbi Sommer talks about adding “shiny garlands of fake leaves, imitation grapes” and stars, because, “One of the primary rules about a sukkah is that you have to be able to see the stars through the roof.”

While you could easily and quickly pick up what you need at art supply and grocery stores, it could be so much more fun (though certainly not faster!) to choose decorations as a family.

Making an indoor sukkah

As time allows, choose one or more of these activities:

  1. Gather signs of autumn. Start by walking together through the woods. Ask your children to look for leaves changing colors, acorns, and fallen twigs. I’ve done this with my toddler grandson and we collected beautiful leaves – that is, whatever he thought was beautiful. From these, we made our Sukkot centerpiece.
  2. Turn your woods walk into a scavenger hunt. With older children, you can up the adventure quotient by creating a scavenger hunt. Bring enough paper bags for each child to gather whatever items you call out (based on where you live): orange leaf, red leaf, yellow leaf, brown leaf, pine cones, acorns, etc. Use the finds for centerpieces and wall decorations.
  3. Visit a farmer’s market and let each child choose a small gourd or ear of Indian corn to decorate the table or kitchen counter.
  4. Explore the fresh food aisle of your grocery store. What fruits and veggies are harvested in the fall? Brainstorm ideas of what recipes you can make together from your finds. Apples. Cranberries. Figs. Grapes. Parsnips. Peppers. Pumpkins.

We have a long family tradition of decorating rooms for celebrations. Curly ribbons hanging from doorways and light fixtures for birthdays. Our Happy Hanukkah Banner in our Hanukkah Games Box.  Centerpieces for any occasion.  Paper chains (also good for most occasions), but a special favorite for Sukkot and Hanukkah. All these ideas are fun and easy.

Check out our Sukkot Pinterest Board for more ideas that can be brought to an indoor sukkah.

Don’t forget the stars

With great thanks to Rabbi Sommer, we will now be adding stars to our indoor sukkah for the years when we don’t have an outdoor one!

Here’s a video about making small paper stars. When our daughter was 9, she fell in love with making tiny hamentaschen — and she would have loved making these itty bitty stars that you could string and hang, sprinkle on surfaces, or tape to walls.

For larger origami stars, check out this tutorial. Or you can make the traditional cardboard-covered-in-tin-foil stars.  Or draw stars on construction paper. There’s no end to the possibilities here.

And if you can, throw open the windows, open the doors, get a cross-breeze going, and feel the outside coming in.

Chag sameach! Happy Sukkot!

Ellen says Do you have ideas for what you’d like to see us offer in our 8 Weeks of Hanukkah Specials? Just shoot me an email at ellen@jewishholidaysinabox.com.  Would love to hear your ideas!

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