8 Chanukah Traditions to Do at Home

December 13, 2022

By Ariel Platt, Director of J Life

          Why did the dreidel go to the doctor? It kept getting dizzy spells.

For as long as I can remember my family has hosted a Dreidel Tournament for our family and friends. It is a family tradition I look forward to every year, even though I am terrible at spinning the dreidel. I share this with you because over the years it has become more transparent to me how important it is to create family traditions. Traditions can spread light through generations. Who knows my children could be hosting dreidel tournaments one day. So, here are eight Chanukah traditions you can try with your family and friends this year:

  1. Dreidel Tournament – Set up a dreidel tournament for your family and friends. Winner takes all, all the gelt that is!
  2. Read your favorite Chanukah stories – My favorite Chanukah story is Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel.
  3. Have each family member light their own menorah – It’s fun for each family member to pick their own menorah. Then put them in the window for everyone to see. You can also create your own family menorah, or have a menorah making contest.
  4. Feast of Fried Things – Make your own sufganiyot and have a feast of fried things, including a latke topping tasting.
  5. Act out the Chanukah story
  6. Decorate your house for Chanukah -Get into the Chanukah spirit by decorating your house for Chanukah.
  7. Have a mitzvah night – Part of spreading the joy and the light of Chanukah is spreading your light to the world. You can do that by doing something good for your community or a cause you believe in.
  8. Try different Chanukah traditions from around the world – For example in Southern India they make gulab jamnun, a milk based ball of dough that is deep fried and drenched in sugar. In Morocco, Algeria and other North African communities it is customary to hang a menorah next to your mezuzah for extra protection. You may also want to try a neighborhood wine tasting, inspired by the custom of Southern France where they go from house to house opening a bottle of wine and toasting with their neighbors.

May your Chanukah be filled with light, laughter, and the joy of being with family and friends!

For JCC events to celebrate the holiday, please visit www.jcc.org/chanukah

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