Alexandra Kaehler Brings Tradition and Style to Her Family’s Hanukkah Celebration

The Chicago designer's treasured heirlooms come to life in her sister's house.

December 21, 2023

When designer Alexandra Kaehler’s sister Katie and her husband purchased a house in the siblings’ hometown of Chicago, Katie knew there was only one person to turn to when it came to decorating. With their extensive family living nearby, Alexandra knew that creating a space that felt comfortable and cozy but dressed-up enough for entertaining would be a top priority—especially around the holidays.

Growing up, their grandmother—a consummate hostess—instilled in them a reverence for tradition. Today, that heritage shines through as Katie and Alexandra decorate the house in preparation for Hanukkah festivities. “All eight nights of Hanukkah aren’t necessarily formal occasions—sometimes it’s as simple as lighting the menorah with the kids—but it’s nice to have at least one special night where you have a little bit more of a formal dinner,” says Katie.

When dressing the dinner table, Katie and Alexandra take care to incorporate items that honor different branches of their large family—starting with the embroidered linen tablecloth and leaf-patterned china, both which were passed down by their grandmother to Katie. Hand-embroidered napkins, which once belonged to Alexandra’s husband’s grandmother, are a perfect complement to the scheme, continuing the cherished thread that connects all four generations.

“What Hanukkah means to me is family,” says Katie. “It’s loud and messy and things don’t always go as planned, but it’s a good time.”