Hanukkah is the celebration of lights, spent honoring your ancestors and sharing merriment with your family and friends.
The celebration of Hanukkah starts at sundown of 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev and continues for eight days; during this time the menorah is lit with candles in remembrance of the eight days that oil burned during a time when oil was scarce. Chabad.org explains that “Hanukkah celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, of purity over adulteration, of spirituality over materiality.”
What better way to celebrate the beauty of the holiday than with a party?! Throwing a Hanukkah party is a great way to spend quality time with everyone you hold dear to you heart.
Traditionally, one uses the colors of Israel when decorating for a Hanukkah party — blue, white and silver. To make your entryway festive when receiving guests, try hanging a beautiful wreath that uses blue, silver and gold ornamental balls or other materials. You can make your space even more festive by hanging decorative strands of blue and white lights in and around your home. You and your children can even make paper chains to accent indoor decorations!
If you have blank wall, you can create a paper menorah to stick to the wall. Each night, have your toddler or young child stick another candle on the menorah.
Set your dining table up with a centerpiece that is reflective of Hanukkah. Place silver or gold chargers at each place setting with blue napkins on top. If you want to be a bit playful, lay a toy Dreidel on each plate or napkin.
There are so many more ideas on how to decorate your home for Hanukah so be sure to visit my Hanukkah Party Pinterest board to get inspired! The board also includes many food and drink recipes.
Preparation for your ceremony
To prepare for your menorah lighting, be sure to place your menorah near a window or door and place the candles within the holders. If you expect a large crowd, you may want to have more than one menorah so everyone can participate in this special lighting ceremony. To be sure everyone you invited can participate in the lighting ceremony, ask your guests to arrive about an hour before sunset.
Lighting the menorah is a special part of the Hanukkah tradition that includes a time for blessings and prayers. Chabad.org has printable prayers and Jewish text available for print and audio.
During Hanukkah, many Jewish people prefer to keep their meals kosher, meaning they do not mix meat and dairy. If you and your guests want to eat kosher during Hanukkah, or any other time, there is an easy solution. This year, try hosting a dairy-based dinner by serving some amazing dishes like:
- Latkes (potato pancakes) with applesauce
- Bagels with cream cheese
- Meatless lasagna
- Spinach and cheese pies
- Sufganiot – Jelly-filled donuts
- Challah bread
Tip: When preparing a kosher meal, be sure that your ingredients are labeled kosher. For more information on kosher labeling, visit My Jewish Learning.
For the adults, be sure to serve kosher wine. Your choices are endless, not limited to Manischewitz. If you can’t find kosher wines in your local wine shop, you can look online at stores like Kosherwine.com and the like.
Try creating a blue “Shirley Temple” for your little guests! For this mocktail, all you have to do is trade out the grenadine for Blue Kool-Aid.
- Blue raspberry juice mix or Kool-Aid
- Kosher lemon-lime naturally flavored sparkling water
- White grape juice
To make this drink, combine equal parts of Kool-Aid, white grape juice and Kosher lemon-lime sparkling water. Mix the drink with ice and serve!
Games and Activities
There’s no better way to celebrate Hanukkah than with traditional Hanukkah games! Two examples of traditional Hanukkah games include Dreidel and Hanukkah bingo!
For instructions on playing these games, visit the links below.
Singing together is such a nice way to connect with one another, creating a bond. Some traditional Hanukkah songs (click links for lyrics) include:
For many more songs you and your kids can sing together, visit Chabad.org
Kids love to hear stories. Share with them these traditional tales to bring them a deeper understanding of this special holiday.
Chabad.org offers many wonderful Hanukkah stories, including:
Kids love to leave a party with goodies, so be sure to send your young guests home with some treats. Some traditional Hanukkah options include Gelt (gold coin chocolate money), Dreidels and Star of David chocolates. You can find a wide assortment of Hanukkah gifts and treats on sites like Oh Nuts.
"May love and light fill your home and heart at Hanukkah." — Author Unknown
Have a Blessed Hanukkah- Shalom!
Jessica Mungekar gathers and writes about party options and tips at Jessie's Party Stop, South Jersey's Guide to Kids' Parties.