(Here is a snapshot of our Sukkah as it’s going up. Ours is beautiful: it’s Chinese silk and was made to order while we were living overseas several years ago. It can seat a BUNCH! But even more beautiful are the kids–these are my two oldest.)
Sukkot can be tough. It upends our normal (hopefully smooth) flow of dishes and food for holiday meals. Here are some tips that have helped smooth things out again over my years of making Sukkot:
- Use disposable dishes. Yes, I know some people will hate that advice, but with the sheer amount of dishes and trudging them from the kitchen to the Sukkah and back to the kitchen…disposables are so much easier! I use real dishes the great majority of the year (barring a few Shabbatot with tricky circumstances and right before and after Pesach), but this is something that really makes my life easier for Sukkot. Buy some nice dishes and color coordinate to make it special. (Get a good deal on paper goods here, and use code kwmaht639137hagtvg for $10 off your first order!)
- Put some shelves into the sukkah. I use two 3 shelf wire unit from Target and cover it with a plastic tablecloth. Under the tablecloth are all of our paper goods as well as things like benchers, bottled drinks, and snacks for Sukkah hoppers. Everything is protected from the rain by the table covering and looks nice despite the distinct possibility it is jumbled under the cover, but it’s handy to get without extra trips into the house. I also light my candles on a wooden plank that fits over these.
- Keep a garbage can handy…OUTSIDE your Sukkah. We keep a big garbage can outside the Sukkah. It’s easy to clean up messes and instead of lugging everything inside (and then back out!), we just cut the middle step out. (The garbage can should be outside because the Sukkah is holy–it enables us to do a mitzvah! Garbage isn’t nice, so we keep it outside.) Oh, and be sure to put a cover on, particularly if you have animals who might come to investigate.
- Place a table outside the Sukkah door. This is good as a staging area, but especially for washing hands. Bring out a basin, a towel, and a pitcher of water and allow guests to wash their hands before motzi without having everyone troop in and out of the house. Some people have the minhag (tradition) to wash before kiddush and then follow kiddush immediately with motzi, without the interruption for washing. Again, outside the Sukkah because the dirty water isn’t nice. Once that’s done, you can use the table to serve from, to collect things, etc…
- Get snacks for Sukkah hoppers (including your own). After several years of living with very few Jews in the area, when we moved I was surprised to find Sukkah hoppers joining us in our Sukkah several times over the course of the first days. Lucky for them (and me!), I had some things on hand to give them. But be prepared, dear readers! Get something like individually wrapped licorice, nuts, laffy taffys, chips–snacks with a few different brachot are nice to have.
- Accept and expect some chaos. Things aren’t normal now. But that’s part of the magic! Be prepared mentally and go with it. Embrace the chaos!
What tips have helped you? What doesn’t work for you?