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Hanukkah 2012 is coming. Are you ready?

Unlit MenorahHanukkah will soon be upon us.  For 2012, this celebration begins the evening of Saturday, December 8th and runs through the evening of Sunday, December 16th.  Hanukkah is a holiday filled with fun, food and great memories.

Many people have asked me how I have incorporated this traditional Jewish holiday into our family’s Advent season.  Well throughout the next week or so, you will experience it for yourself.  I truly believe you will be in for a treat as you create great memories as a family.

There are three items you will need to fully enjoy your eight days of “Celebrating the Light.”

The first item is a menorah with 45 candles.  You can easily order a fine menorah with 45 candles from many online sites.  You can also look up and see if you have a Judaica store in your city or neighborhood.  If not, you can go to the store and buy 45 small to medium sized birthday candles along with a nice piece of decorative wood about a foot in length.  Once home, drill nine holes the same diameter as the candles into your length of wood.  Each hole should be about an inch apart from each other.  You now have a menorah and all the candles you will needed for Hanukkah.  FUN.

Why 45 candles you might ask?  Well, on the first night you will light one candle in the middle and one on the far left and you will let them burn down till they are completely gone.  The next night, you will burn one candle in the middle and two on the left side until they are gone.  On night three as you might guess, you will burn one in the middle and three on the left side until gone.  If you keep up the sequence for eight days you will have burned 45 candles.  FUN.

Next, it is time to get ready to play Dreidels.  Again, go online to find ready made dreidels, or . . . go to the craft store and find dreidel kits ready to build and paint.  To start the game, each player is given an equal number of tokens, like candy, raisins, coins or beads.  At the start each round, each player begins by putting a token in the “pot” in the middle.  The first player spins the dreidel.  Notice what letter comes up on top.

Take a look at the Hebrew alphabet online and identify the four letters you will need to play Dreidels.  The four letter to look up are Nun, Gimmel, Hay and Shin.

Nun, means “Nothing.”  Pass the dreidel to the next player to spin.  Gimmel, means “give me the pot.”  That person takes all the tokens in the “pot.”  Hay, means “give me half the pot.”  That player takes half the “pot.” Shin, means “put one in the pot.”  That player puts on more token in the middle. Game ends when one person ends up with all the tokens. FUN.

Finally, Hanukkah is a time to eat fried foods of all kinds.  A popular Hanukkah treat is fried latkes.  There are many ways to make these tasty treats.  The best and easiest recipe I have found is on and look for “Oven latkes with applesauce.”  Very easy, tasty and of course . . . FUN.

So now it’s time to pile the kids in the car and head to the store to grab some easy to put together Hanukkah supplies.  Better idea, grab your friend from work, church or synagogue along with their kids and go do it together as families.  You are about to embark upon an eight day celebration that will be memory making and involve a lot of . . .  well . . . FUN.

photo by D. Mike Collins


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