Eight socially-distant Hanukkah ideas to try with your family

Hanukkah is just a few nights away, and, if your kids are like mine, they’ve been counting down the days until the Festival of Lights.

Though many of us enjoy the fun gatherings of friends and family at this time, this year the desire to stay safe and healthy means we will be doing things a bit differently.

Despite these different times, we can still experience the joy of Hanukkah.

Read on for some ideas.

Make Some Hanukkah Foods

Hanukkah is your excuse to have fried food — with the traditional choices being latkes (potato pancakes) or sufganiyot. If you are feeling creative, or want to break from tradition, give some other recipes a try. Food Network has some suggestions here.

Attend A Virtual Channukiah (Hanukkah Menorah) Lighting

Many Jewish communities have planned virtual Channukiah lightings, where families can come together and share their candle lighting over Zoom or another virtual meeting platform. Even if your area doesn’t have one planned, the beauty of digital gatherings is you can join anyone anywhere, I quick Google search yielded dozens of options for virtual Channukiah lightings. Or, if Zooming with strangers isn’t your thing, you can always arrange something with friends and/or family.

Attend A Drive-By or Socially-Distant Menorah Lighting

While participating in a virtual lighting is certainly fun. Many of us enjoy seeing the huge Channukiahs lighting up our communities. Many areas have created drive-through experiences that can be enjoyed from the safety of your vehicle. Or, if you prefer to get out of the car, mask up and check out a lighting in your neighborhood.

Go On A Hanukkah Treasure Hunt

Scatter some Hanukkah-themed items (chocolate gelt, dreidles, etc.) around your home and invite your kids to search for them. Or, check out your synagogue or other Jewish organization near you for COVID-safe hunts in your area.

Play The Dreidel Game

No Hanukkah celebration would be complete without one or two rounds of the best spinning-top gambling game. While your family may alter the rules a bit, here’s primer on how to play.

Have A Hanukkah Dance Party

Hanukkah music may not be as prevalent as Christmas music, but there’s still plenty to help get your family in the holiday spirit. Recently, Broadway star, Daveed Diggs (Hamilton) released a super catchy Hanukkah song, “Puppy for Hanukkah.”

And of course, a capella superstars, The Maccabeats continue to release spectacular parodies of pop hits. You can check them out here.

Build A Channukiah

The Channukiah (Hanukkah menorah) is the center piece of the holiday, and while you likely have at least one already, letting your kids make their own will add a special experience to the celebration. Kits are readily available online for kids of all ages and skill levels. You may also want to check in with your Jewish community leaders to see if they are offering kits for free or for a small donation.

Check Out These Great Ideas From PJ Library

PJ Library, the organization that provides wonderful Jewish content to families, has put together a wonderful selection of stories, games and more to help yours make this a truly festive Festival Of Lights. Check it out here.

And if you haven’t done so already, be sure to enroll your children in PJ Library’s FREE service that delivers age-appropriate books and more to your door every month.

Hanukkah will be different, but with a little creativity (and some oil), the holiday can be as memorable as ever.

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