8 Messes of Hannukah

There is a mess for each night of Hannukah.

However you spell it, Chanukah is a holiday that can really warm up the winter. The food, the music, the dreideling — these all bring “oy-fulness” into the home. But they also bring messes. In fact, there is a mess for each night of Chanukah.

1.    Oil. Nothing says “Chanukah” like hot, sizzling, potato pancakes. But hot oil is the gift that keeps on giving: burns on your forearms, spots on your shirt, and spatters on your kitchen counters and stove. Take care of oil spots on clothes right away or your Chanukah present to yourself will be yet another shirt only presentable enough for yard work.

2.    Potato strings. Speaking of potatoes … they are nutritious and delicious (fried part notwithstanding) once they’re cooked. However, in order to make potato pancakes, you need to shred raw potatoes into pieces that have a habit of sticking to every surface in the house. (You know it was a successful Chanukah party if you find potato strings on your bedroom ceiling.) If you still have your thumbs intact after all that shredding, make cleanup a snap.

3.    Applesauce. Let’s face it, applesauce may be the only non-fried, non-fat thing you eat all night. The sweetened pulp of ripe apples is the perfect counterpoint to the oily, crispy, sour-creamy sensation of potato pancakes. But applesauce has a dark side: a way of adhering itself to shirts, counters, floors, rugs, table legs, pants and shoes. Everything but the potato pancake …

4.    Sour cream. This sits out for a while and begins curdling. The problems start when the lumps plop onto your shirt, shoes and floor. Then the cream isn’t the only thing smelling sour.

5.    Wine or grape juice. Kids and adults alike love their purple-colored party juice. But invariably, someone will get too excited and leave you a memento in the form of a wine splotch on your white tablecloth. Have no fear, it’s easier to just clean up the spills than pretend you’ve run out of Pinot.

6.    Gelt. Melted chocolate coins are one of the worst “gifts” of the holiday season. If the kids haven’t smudged the chocolate all over themselves, they’ve hidden the tiny gold evidence — we mean, wrappers — behind the couch. Still, if you didn’t get your fill of Halloween candy, here’s your second chance.

7.    Candle Wax. One candle for each night of Chanukah multiplied by the number of nights equals … a lot of melted wax. But before you go all “electric” with the Chanukah lights this season, keep these tips in mind for an easy cleanup.

8.    Sweat stains. If you’ve ever spent three hours in the kitchen peeling ten pounds of potatoes, then frying them in molten hot oil, you know that cute holiday t-shirt you were wearing may need a little Chanukah loving afterwards. Pit stains can be kind of embarrassing, but they are a sign of a life well lived. Or at least a blowout party.

The best kind of party is one where everyone has a great time and wants to come back year after year. The second best kind of party? One at someone else’s house.

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