Sukkot is a time to celebrate the end of the year’s harvest in Israel with loved ones and friends. The October holiday also commemorates the Jewish people’s 40-year-long journey in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Sukkot celebrations center around a temporary booth known as a “sukkah.” It’s tradition to invite guests to your sukkah for meals during the week-long event. Families also sleep and spend time inside the booth. As such, it’s decorated beautifully with foliage, hanging ornaments, and artwork. Sukkot celebrations also include taking the “Four Kinds” every day. This involves binding together four special kinds of plants, blessing them, and waving them inside the sukkah.
Traditional Sukkot decorations are based on the harvest and include fruit and vegetables, lights, and garlands. There are no hard rules, though, so you can be as creative as you want. Read on to discover our top ideas for how to transform your sukkah into a beautiful, cozy space.
Every sukkah needs plants and greenery to breathe life into the space. Why not decorate the entrance of your sukkah with foliage curtains? They’re pretty easy to make using plastic garlands filled with leaves. Simply hang each string side by side and then tie them together with rope or ribbon to make them drape. You can also make your foliage curtains from paper cutouts or origami. This is a more time-consuming method, but the results are just as spectacular.
Hanging a harvest wreath on your front door or the entrance to your sukkah is a great way to set the mood and welcome guests. It’s easy to find artificial wreaths, but you can also make your own. When it comes to decorating your wreath, the options are endless. Use anything from flowers and vines to paper cutouts and ribbons. The great thing about wreaths is that they also double as table decorations. Place them over candles and dipping bowls, or use them to make a centerpiece.
Celebrate the bountiful harvest by hanging up fruit and garland around your sukkah. You can buy plastic garlands from a party supply store or make your own using dried fruit. Ensure the fruit is completely dehydrated to prevent your garlands from rotting and attracting bugs. Grapes, figs, dates, and pomegranates are special products of Israel related to the harvest, but you can use anything seasonal. Try making yours with oranges, apples, or pears, for example. You can also use lemons or grapefruit.
Another simple way to decorate your sukkah is to make your own harvest baskets. All you need is a few wicker or seagrass baskets and some harvest-related things to put inside. For example, you could fill yours with the Seven Species or use seasonal vegetables, such as gourds. Mix in natural accents, such as flowers, leaves, wheat sheaves, and pinecones to complete the arrangement. For added flair, lay a patterned cloth at the bottom of the basket and decorate the handle with ribbon.
Paper chains are an easy and inexpensive way to decorate your sukkah, and the kids will love making them. For a twist on the old classic, use patterned paper instead of regular construction paper. You can also use scrapbooking paper, tissue paper, origami paper, or washi tape. For an eco-friendly option, try newspapers, magazines, junk mail, and flyers. Simply cut the paper into uniform strips, wrap them in a circle, and secure the ends together with glue, staples, or tape. Then continue the chain by looping the next circle through the previous one. You can also make paper chains from fabric. Upcycle your sewing scraps or an old set of bed sheets to make the strips.
Sukkot is the perfect excuse to use those empty glass bottles and jars lying around the house. With a few supplies, you can transform them into magical lanterns for your sukkah. Gather them all up, remove the labels, and give them a good wash. Then it’s time to paint with acrylics. Use the themes of the holiday to inspire you. Think symbols of Judaism or harvest-related scenes. Once you complete your artwork, pop tea candles into the jars and watch them glow. This is another great activity to share with the kids.
Throw pillows are an easy yet effective way to make your sukkah extra cozy. They’re both decorative and functional. You can change the covers to reflect the holiday. You can also use them to sit comfortably at the table or on the floor. Crotchet or knit your own cushion covers, or use embroidery to personalize a store-bought design. You can also involve the kids by giving them blank cotton covers to paint.
Whether you hang garlands or paint glass lanterns, decorations are an important part of celebrating Sukkot. Use these ideas to inspire your own, be creative, and have fun!