When I think of Chanukah I immediately think of family time. Cozy circles around the candles, chilly and dark outside, glowing and warm inside. Husbands and fathers come home early and we gather around with the whole family for eight festive days! Let us all maximize on all this special family time as much as we can With the only Mitzvos being Hallel and Menorah, it’s really up to us to make it our own. Here
are some wonderful ideas for you and your loved ones to help bond and keep busy, all in the Chanukah spirit.
Decorate Your Chanukah Table
Whether you are having grand Chanukah parties or not, it’s always fun to have themed decor around your house for the holiday. Israeli shops fill with an abundance of Chanukah goodies- plastic ware, food, toys and more. The streets are bedecked with light-up menorahs and dreidels, completing the winter wonderland look for our Jewish country. Decorating your table will fill your home with that same Yom Tov vibe!
You can create a simple Menorah decoration by placing eight similar items down the middle of your table, and one bigger in the center as the Shamesh. Try glass cups of pretty flower arrangements. Simply place four glass cups of flowers in a row, one larger glass, and four more small ones. You can buy one big bunch of flowers from the corner pop ups on erev Shabbos and split them up yourself. For a colorful look try using glasses filled with plastic dreidels or candy. We all know this country has an abundance of candy to choose from, in the shuk in grocery stores and nut shops. Dreidels are popular in shekel stores, Geula, and almost anywhere else, starting from Rosh Chodesh Kislev and on. For a simpler setup that provides a classy and clean look, try placing tea lights on top of eight medium sized Voss water bottles and one taller one. You can get them in Israel here – https://israel.desertcart.com/products/91724157-voss-sparkling-water-800-ml
You can try piling up stacks of doughnuts for people to eat, or any other original ideas you can come up with to create this special holiday aura.
Crafts for Kids
With a house full of kiddies, arts and crafts is always a hit. Keep your children busy and excited about Chanukah by creating your own projects. Make a DIY Menorah with children that are too young to light their own. Decorate clothes pins as candles or use Velcro to allow you to add and remove candles each night, and use the Shamesh to “light” the other candles. Stickers work great as flames. You can even have these candles stuck onto a paper crown for your child’s head! For kids that can light their own Menorah, let them personalize it! With some rhinestones and a tin Menorah, you’re bound to end up with a masterpiece. You can get everything mentioned here, plus many more DIY Chanukah crafts, at the shekel stores, located in Bar Ilan Shmuel Hanavi, Geula, Shefa, and their other branches scattered all
One of the best parts of sitting outside with your Chanuka lights is knowing that there are hot latkas waiting for you in the kitchen. They say that food connects people, and let’s face it- whether you’re having a major Chanukah party or just spending time with family at home, you’re going to need some yummy food. Get into the kitchen with your spouse or kids and get baking! Donuts, latkas, anything oily. You know the drill! Donut holes are an awesome way to make donuts without having to shape each one. Simply create small little balls of dough for frying. You can even use a delicious challah dough recipe if you let it rise long enough. Toss them in icing sugar, glaze, or make a buffet of toppings for everyone to choose from. Classic sugar cookies are an all-time favorite as well, making for some good childhood memories. Cut them out in the shapes of dreidels, Menorah, donuts, and other Chanukah items. Decorate raw cookies with sprinkles, cookie crumbs and chocolate coins, or baked cookies with frosting and then toppings of your choice.
Have a wonderful Chanukah with your family! We hope you enjoy these ideas and that they enhance your Yom Tov. Keep warm and keep busy, and keep creating memories.
Ah Freilichen Chanuka!