I wanted to talk about how to make all of the eight nights of Hanukkah special. One of the great things is in our holiday lasts for eight nights, but it can get kind of repetitive and all about the presents. I wanted to give you some ideas of how I like to change things up and keep things special on a night to night basis. I really love the idea of doing theme nights. You can give your kids gifts on the theme, but then also do things that connect you as a family.
I love doing arts & crafts with my kids, so I like to make that one of our nights. We’re always in need of replenishing things, so giving them a gift of extra paints or new markers is perfect for them. There are also some great kits out there of crafts you can do. I like the idea of having a night where as a family we do the crafts together maybe we each do our own thing or maybe doing something all together as a family a larger project.
Another thing that we’d like to do as a family it’s have a game night so you could make a gift of a new board game or use a board game that you’ve had around the house for a while or get a new board game I actually found some Chanukah games while I was shopping out for Hanukkah things. Perhaps even have another couple over after bedtime for an adult game night.
Chanukah is not just about lighting candles and presents. There’s a story here. I think sometimes that we forget to tell the Hanukkah story. Whether that means reading a book or telling it orally. I love sitting down with my kids and telling them the story just from my memory. I think that we have lost the art of telling a story and telling a story communally, so if you have a lot of people around kind of passed the story along. Different people can chime in with their own parts of the story. It makes it really come alive depending on your family, you can dress up in costumes and act it out. You can sing Hanukkah songs. It’s about making it about this great miracle of a story but also these rebel fighters that fought for our religious freedom so many years ago .
In our house, we love to cook. I think that that’s one of those things that keeps traditions going. We can do it as a family. You could do the traditional stuff like making latkes and sufaniyot, but dealing with that hot oil can be a little hard with the little ones. You could bake cookies or even everyone pitching in to make dinner.
I don’t always take a chance to like cuddle with my kids on the couch when they’re watching TV or a movie. This is once again, a wonderful opportunity to carve that time out of my schedule as well as theirs and have that kind of physically close time with them. If you’re looking for some Chanukah episodes of TV shows you can check out my post. I know that people love the Rugrats movie and some other movies that are out there that are Chanukah related but maybe you could also just pick a family favorite or or a favorite that you had when you were a kid
I love the idea of changing things up for a holiday and making it feel like things are a little different. This is a chance to do a special dinner whether it’s all of your kids favorite foods all at once. Whether it’s a decadent food that you guys don’t usually have at home or even I think I might do this this year dessert for dinner. It’s crazy, it’s rebellious, it feels fun, and that’s what it’s about. It about creating a memory that your kids are gonna remember and next year’s are gonna be so excited to have dessert for dinner again. Why not, it’s one night.
I love the idea of a quiet night. The tradition is that you don’t do any work by the light of the Chanukah candles. For at least the 30 minutes that the candles are burning, no work, no homework, no schoolwork, maybe you don’t touch your phone. I like the idea of extending that idea of quiet so turn off all the lights have just the candles as your light and maybe take some time to meditate. I know a lot of people are curious about starting meditating or doing it with their kids. My Jewish Mommy Life has a video about Jewish meditation. There are also apps I really like for teaching you how to meditate including some guided meditations even specifically for kids. It’s worth a try if there’s something you’re curious about or you guys can just it’s sometimes nice to have a break from the chaos in the world. In our daily lives even kids these days are pretty stressed out and so take a chance by the light of those Chanukah candles to take a break.
My last idea is to have a Hanukkah party of course whether it’s inviting some other families over or having a big open house where you invite as many people as you can cram in. It’s nice to celebrate these holidays with other people and makes it feel special. We are after all a community. It’s nice to feel that sense of community.