The 2nd Annual Wittbloom Chanukah Party

11 Dec

chanGoing into our second Chanukah party, I figured it would be a lot like last years. The ingredients for the party would be pretty much the same. I’d make latkes, Caitlin would bake something amazing. We’d play dreidel for quarters, invite mostly the same people and we’d even listen to the same Spotify playlist of Chanukah songs*. For whatever reason, this year felt different in a lot of ways. If I had to pinpoint why, I’d say that it was because more than twice as many people ended up coming, Scooby was here to keep things interesting and people drank a lot more which led to it getting so loud, we had to abandon the Chanukah playlist and play records. I have no complaints about any of this.

*I felt like a bit of a fake when this Spotify playlist showed up in my account, being a Shiksa and all, but we had to use my MacBook Pro to get the “best” Spotify sound.


Caitlin picked her brother Edward up on her way home from work and came in as I had latkes in the pan and Weezer’s blue album on the stereo. Caitlin iced her incredible strawberry cupcakes/brownie concoction* as I kept frying the latkes and we caught up with Edward on his editing gigs and we shared the joys of training employees at work. Edward hung out on the couch as we finished getting the food ready and Scooby joined his uncle for a pre-party cuddle sesh. Before long, Rob and Emily showed up (a few minutes early) and Emily and Caitlin shared exciting job news as Rob and I immediately began discussing fantasy football, as we were the two teams on bye this week in our league (of Calamitous Intent.) I had Caitlin cue up the old Spotify Chanukah playlist and Emily asked me my favorite and I went for the cop out answer of Adam Sandler’s original version, explaining that Monte’s the deep cut guy, I like classics for a reason. The reason the Chanukah playlist didn’t last long was two fold: 1) Neither of us pay for Spotify, so we couldn’t put it on an iPhone and dock it on our speakers, so the talking soon overwhelmed it and 2) since I was logged into Caitlin’s account, I couldn’t remove the talking comedy tracks which really ruin the flow of a party.

*Another Pinterest win! I’ve been awfully lucky with the recipes I’ve tried so far.

bros “I didn’t know you were coming.” Rob (right) said to his younger brother Charles (center). Mark (left) was also there.

 Before I knew it, 15-20 people showed up in about a 15 minute window. The Chanukah mix was completely getting drowned out, so we put on Vampire Weekend (also Jewish), the wine was flowing, the latkes and cupcakes were getting nom’d and Scooby was all over the place, surprisingly behaving himself for the most part. Sure, our apt had a Christmas tree, stockings and the most heavily decorated porch on the block*, but inside it could have been mistaken for Jerusalem. OK, not really, but we’ll get to that.

*What can I say, I love the holidays. All of them.


Dreidel was especially hilarious this year, since I spent more time explaining it in a way that would help people remember instead of explaining what the symbols actually were. A gimmel is the thing you want to spin, and it looks like this, but everyone at the table decided it looked like a high heeled shoe, so instead of chanting “gimmel,” they chanted “High heeled shoe! High heeled shoe!*” In the picture above, Mac got “Hay,” the hebrew letter which means you get half. Once everyone at the table found out it mean you got half, they just started calling it “the divorce.” I’m really glad I got to share my Jewish customs with my friends this year.

*Our buddy Alex opted for the truncated, “High heel! High heel!” which was pretty awesome.

dreidel win

I’m not superstitious, but there’s something to be said for how your attitude translates to results. If you feel confident and ride a hot dealer at a blackjack table, you just may win. If you throw up one arm and chant “high heeled shoe, high heeled shoe,” Moses may just rain gimmels on you like it’s Mana all night long. Once Emily realized this, game over. L’chaim!

scoobs alex

Alex and Ally had never met Scooby, but that didn’t stop him from getting all up in their grill immediately. Thanks to Alex for taking the dreidel action shots.

Dreidel was a ton of fun, but the most hilarious moment of the night goes to Scooby. At around 11:15, when Caitlin made a quick run to drive Edward home*, Scooby reached his boiling point. When he gets agitated or needs to blow off steam, he runs around in tight, lightning-fast circles around the apartment. Usually this isn’t a problem, because we keep a tidy living room and he can navigate around the furniture with ease. This night, however, the coffee table was pushed against the couch, and was lined with beer bottles and wine glasses that could be easily spilled by a wild dog. Oh, and there was a Christmas tree in the way and a dozen people in his path. After behaving extremely well all night, Scooby decided he’d been good long enough and started his run. His circle always involves running up the left side of the couch (Where Alex in blue is sitting), running across it towards the other end and then leaping off and darting across the room. He started on the other side of the room, and it quickly became clear to me that once he started on that couch, he was headed toward an inevitable crash into either the tree, the table full of drinks or both. The whole party saw him start to run and gasped as he miraculously leapt over the table and kicked his legs behind him to extend just over the top of every drink, landing without breaking stride. As party-goers made a move to cut him off, I yelled “No one stop him!” knowing that diverting his run would only ensure that he’d re-route and surely crash. With each successive circle the devil dog made, I managed to take more and more glasses off the table until it was bare and Scooby’s circles came to a stop. Crisis averted.

*I’m the blitz, y’all.


Lisa (and Bea) and Caitlin and Scooby. “Mom, you missed it! I ran right by the tree and then I jumped over the table a few times and I didn’t knock anything down…”


We were so busy entertaining that no pictures were taken for a solid hour and a half, so about a dozen people appear in no pictures at all and you really only see the beginning and end of this party, but see? There was a party here. Look at all those bottles. I really love that Caitlin and my friends come to our Chanukah party every year and celebrate with me, even though I’m the only Jew (aside from a brief visit from Bennett.) It means a lot to me that Caitlin especially gets into the traditions, lights candles with me, plays dreidel and exchanges eight nights of gifts*. Happy Chanukah to all, next year in Jerusalem (in our apt.)

*What’s not to like about 8 more days of presents? Let the spoiling commence!


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