For eight nights, family and friends gather ‘round the glow of the Hanukkah menorah to celebrate the festival of lights with song and games of dreidel. This year, the first night’s candle lighting is on November 27.
8 Ways to Celebrate 8 Nights
Think outside the gift box. Bring the family together with these creative ideas to make each night a special evening to look forward to.Learn More
8 Ways to Celebrate 8 Nights
Bring the family together with creative gift alternatives and activities for each night of the Festival of Lights.
- 1. Share the Light
- Invite families and friends to bring their own menorahs to a Hanukkah party. After dinner, dim the room and light the menorahs together, creating an unforgettable glow. Create song sheets so everyone can join in from the candle blessings to fun choruses of “I Had a Little Dreidel.”
- 2. Give Together
- For one night, rather than exchanging gifts, decide as a family on a worthy cause and make a donation.
- 3. Game Night
- Dreidel is a classic favorite, but also try Pin the Candle on the Menorah as another kid-friendly option. Just draw a menorah on poster board, make construction paper candles with double-stick tape on the back and blindfold the players.
- 4. Book Night
- Give the joy of reading. Give your kids a favorite book title from your childhood (if you have your original copy, that’s even better). Or choose a chapter book the family will read aloud together.
- 5. Exchange ‘Gifts of Time’
- Create certificates redeemable for time spent together on a hike, museum outing or breakfast in bed.
- 6. Make Your Own Gelt
- Wrap chocolate nonpareils in gold or silver foil topped with Hanukkah-themed stickers available at crafts stores.
- 7. DIY Candles
- Have the family make candles for the Hanukkah menorah with crafts store kits.
- 8. Mystery Guests
- Ask each person to write who (or what) fills his or her world with light. Place the notes in a box and pass around. Each person takes a turn reading a passage aloud while the group guesses who said what.
Let's Make Latkes
Invite friends over for an afternoon of making latkes with our favorite recipe form award-winning cookbook author Joan Nathan. It's more fun when you share the oil, toil, laughter and tears (who's grating the onions?)View Recipe
Crispy Traditional Potato Latkes From the kitchen of Joan Nathan
Yield: about 2 dozen latkes
- 2 pounds russet (baking) or Yukon Gold potatoes
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 cup chopped scallions, including the green part
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1. Peel the potatoes and put in cold water. Using a grater or a food processor coarsely grate the potatoes and onions. Place together in a fine-mesh strainer or tea towel and squeeze out all the water over a bowl. The potato starch will settle to the bottom; reserve that after you have carefully poured off the water.
- 2. Mix the potato and onion with the potato starch. Add the scallions, egg, and salt and pepper.
- 3. Heat a griddle or non-stick pan and coat with a thin film of vegetable oil. Take about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture in the palm of your hand and flatten as best you can. Place the potato mixture on the griddle, flatten with a large spatula, and fry for a few minutes until golden. Flip the pancake over and brown the other side. Remove to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately. You can also freeze the potato pancakes and crisp them up in a 350-degree oven at a later time.
Play a Game of Dreidel
Take this traditional Hanukkah game for a spin.How to Play
How to Play Dreidel
Take this traditional Hanukkah game for a spin.
- 1. Gather at least two players. But the more, the merrier.
- 2. Distribute tokens evenly among all players. Chocolate candy coins called “gelt” are traditionally used as tokens, but small items or treats such as pennies, nuts, small candies or raisins also will work.
- 3. Create “the pot.” Direct each player to place one token in the middle of the circle.
- 4. Take turns spinning the dreidel. In some variations of the game, it always starts with the youngest player. When the dreidel lands, one Hebrew letter from the four sides will show. The player should perform the following action depending on which letter appears:
- - Shin* (“put in”): Put one more token in the pot.
- - Nun* (“Nothing”): Do nothing
- - Gimmel (“everything”): Take all tokens from the pot.
- - Hay (“half”): Take half of all tokens in the pot. In case of an odd number of tokens, round up.
- 5. Pass the dreidel to the next player.
- 6. Keep playing until someone wins by collecting all the tokens in the pot.