What’s the Right Seder For You?

About this time of year, I like to ponder who’ll be coming to our Seder and what kinds of extra festivities make sense.

Choosing A Haggadah

Probably the most important step is choosing a Haggadah that you like, one that resonates with you. The tone of the evening rolls out from there.

When you look up Passover Haggadah on amazon.com, there are 1793 results!

Our family has at least 10 different styles of Haggadot, ranging from super family-friendly to more philosophical to old-school traditional to pop-up. But we go back, year after year, to a Haggadah for young children.

Some years we amplify more than others.

What’s your favorite Haggadah?

Customizing the Seder

Can we add special songs (like the year we performed and sang our Welcome to the Seder song, accompanied by banjo and guitar)?

Can we add some splitting the Red Sea action made in advance with huge sheets of construction paper?

Can we pull out the play our daughter wrote about the Passover story, which is awesome? Do we have the right people for the parts?

Or, given the attention span of the group, do I mark through our favorite Haggadah and cut down to bare bones?

And where’s the balance between pulling in old traditions and building new ones?

For inspiration, I check out our Passover  Pinterest board.

Where I’m Leaning

Based on the crowd I think we’ll have – super mix of backgrounds and ages – I’m leaning toward:

  • Asking our youngest guests to help:
    • Set up the mini-seder plates that we put on everyone’s big plate, so that they’ll have a strong memory of what the symbolic foods are, like hard-boiled eggs, parsley, horseradish, and haroset
    • Put pillows at people’s places to show that we are free and can recline if we want to
    • Create heaping plates of maracoons and fruit slices and honey cake, so they can present them with a “ta-dah” when it’s time for dessert
  • Keeping it simple. So no Passover play this year, but yes to the Seder Welcome Song we wrote to the tune of “You Are My Sunshine.” That gets everyone singing from the get-go. (We pass out the words and the song tells the story of the Seder.)
  • Weaving in extras that don’t add much time (e.g., having tambourines, maracas, and other mini-instruments ready for everyone who wants to ramp up the Seder songs)
  • Building in ways for our littlest guests to get up from the table multiple times, so that they’re less restless (like having them walk around to each Seder guest with a bowl of water and a towel to help them “wash” for the second Seder step, Ur’chatz)

More pondering and decisions to come.

But it feels good to have started.

Where are you in your planning?

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