A Hanukkah Celebration That Your Whole Family Can Enjoy

1. Make Your Own Menorah: Create a hand-made menorah for your family to light this Hanukkah. Search the Internet for menorah kits or mold a menorah out of clay. Have fun decorating the menorah with paint and glitter.

 

2. Make an Edible Menorah: Bake one batch of brownies. Give each family member a long, rectangular brownie. Invite the “Hanukkah chefs” to create their own unique edible menorah using various treats such as licorice pieces to serve as candles, butterscotch chips to serve as flames, marshmallow filling to glue everything together, and any other candy or treat of your choice. Try a healthier version using half of a celery stalk as a base, baby carrots as candles, raisins as flames, and peanut butter to glue everything together. B’tei’avon! Good appetite!

3. Fry Up Some Latkes: Search online or ask friends and family for latke recipes. Stir up the batter, fry the latkes, and enjoy. Spice up your holiday by searching for latke recipes that use a main ingredient other than potato. How about zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots, or even cheese latkes? Try making a few recipes and let your family judge which recipe is the most delicious.

4. Host a Dreidel Spinoff: After lighting the Hanukkah candles, gather together as a family for a dreidel spinoff. Let each family member spin a dreidel. Using a stop watch, record the time each dreidel spins. If your dreidel spins the longest, you win. Consider adding the “Dreidel Spinoff” to the more traditional dreidel game. For example, if your dreidel spins the longest, you win the “pot.”

5. Fill Your Home with the Sights and Sounds of Hanukkah: Invite your children to create drawings of the Hanukkah story and make Hanukkah decorations. Use these or store-bought items to decorate your home. Create an annual tradition of taking a family photograph at Hanukkah. Hang the photographs in chronological order so that everyone can see how the family has grown and matured. Fill your home with song. A broad array of Hanukkah music can be purchased at Judaica stores, book stores, and on the Internet. Add to the festive spirit of the holiday by playing and singing your favorites—at home and in the car.
6. Say Goodnight with a Hanukkah Story: Each night of Hanukkah before bedtime, gather together as a family to read a Hanukkah story. If you have young children, you might read Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat by Naomi Howland (Clarion), When Mindy Saved Hanukkah by Eric Kimmel (Scholastic), or The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate by Janice Cohn (Albert Whitman & Company). If you have older children, consider “The Maccabees’ Sister” as told by Rabbi Ed Feinstein in Capturing the Moon (Behrman House). Be on the lookout for Hanukkah tales published in Jewish magazines or your local Jewish newspaper.

7. Give a Gift to Those in Need: Take your child shopping for a gift to give to someone less fortunate. Encourage your child to pick out a gift that he or she would like to receive. Then, let your child donate that gift to a local hospital or charitable organization. You might also plan with your extended family to each put aside a weekly donation in a family tzedakah box. (Before Shabbat on Friday afternoons would be the perfect time!) Then, at Hanukkah, pool the money and donate it to a children’s aid organization. Gather together the children and provide them with a list of charities. Let them choose where they want to donate their collective Hanukkah gift.

 

8. Tell the story of Hanukkah in a new way: Draw a cartoon of the Hanukkah story. Compose a song for the whole family to sing together. Act out the story, or perform a puppet show. Be sure to have costumes for the actors or puppets. You could also write the story in newspaper format, with bold headlines and a variety of articles, interviews, and features.

9. Design a family coat of arms: The Maccabees were proud to be Jews. Their shields identified them as Jews. Create your own coat of arms, displaying your family pride. Draw a shield on a large piece of paper. Decorate it with pictures of your family, your favorite Jewish symbols and Jewish objects from your home. Include a rebus, pictograph or symbol for your last name.

10. Talk about miracles: Instead of ending the second blessing for Hanukkah candles with “she-asah nisim l’avoteinu ba’yamim ha-hem ba-z’man ha-zeh” (Who made miracles for our ancestors long ago at this time), some people say “ba-yamim ha-hem u-va-z’man ha-zeh” (long ago and in this time).  Discuss the miracles in the Hanukkah story and the miracles in our lives today.

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Food And Fabulous Fun For Kids

New Year’s Party Decorating & Food Ideas

New Year’s Eve Decorations

  • Gather all your clocks, and set them around the party area.
  • If you still have a Christmas tree set up, hang party hats and noisemakers from the branches. If you don’t have a tree, scatter them around a small table.
  • Make or purchase a banner that says “Happy New Year!” and hang it prominently. Take a look at our personalized banners for inspiration.
  • Hang streamers from the middle of the ceiling and drape them out to the corners of the room. Attach three balloons in the center of your “canopy”.
  • Create a dance floor on hardwood floors and hang a disco ball above the center of the area.
  • Place disposable cameras on the party table and let the guests take pictures during the party.
  • Hang a chalkboard, or large poster board to a wall where people can write their New Year’s resolutions.
  • Pass out confetti to your guests to throw when the New Year (or pretend New Year) begins.

New Year’s Eve Food Ideas

  • Offer a buffet of kid-friendly foods, such as chicken tenders, pizza slices or pizza bagels, veggies and dip, and sliced fruit.
  • Serve juice or ginger ale in plastic champagne glasses.
  • Make s’mores. If you don’t have a fireplace or outdoor fire pit to roast marshmallows in the traditional fashion, use the microwave. Place a graham cracker topped with a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow in the microwave. Heat for 8-15 seconds or until the marshmallow begins to puff up. Take it out, top it with another graham cracker and serve!
  • Set out a plate of crackers and cheese squares cut into star shapes.
  • Make a popcorn bar where your guests can add toppings to their popcorn. Popular toppings include chocolate sauce, cinnamon & sugar, sprinkles, cheddar cheese powder, and butter. Serve the popcorn in traditional popcorn bags.
  • Serve a star cake pan and write “Happy New Year!” on top in icing.

New Year’s Party Favors

Thank your guests for attending your child’s New Year’s Eve party by combining fun favors such as:

  • Sticker books
  • Star-shaped cookie cutters
  • Fun-shaped lollipops
  • A complete favor set
  • Personalized party favors.

Help Your Kids Celebrate The New Year In Style!

Children love the idea of celebrating on New Year’s Eve, but most are just too young to stay awake until midnight. Why not let them celebrate earlier in the day with a smaller version of the traditional party? Here’s our guide to a fun and easy New Year’s Eve celebration just for kids!

New Year’s Party Planning & Invitations

In addition to basic party supplies, like plates, cups, napkins and decorations, you may want to consider purchasing, borrowing or renting the following items for your New Year’s Eve party:

  • Party hats
  • Noise makers
  • Wine glasses and sparkling apple juice
  • Party music
  • A disco ball
  • A pinata

Creative invitations build excitement and can increase attendance at your child’s New Year’s Eve party. If you have time to make your own, be sure to involve your child in choosing the design and filling in the details. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Fold a square of black construction paper in half, and write “Let’s ring in [year] together!” on the front using a silver marker or gel pen. Write the party details inside and decorate open areas with squiggles of glitter glue to look like streamers and confetti.
  • Cut out a circle from card stock and cover it with metallic craft paper or foil. Cut out black numbers (or purchase pre-cut numbers from the craft store) to spell out the upcoming year and paste them on the front. Cut a circle of black construction paper the same size as your invitation and glue it to the back. Write your party details on the back.
  • Cut a circle out of card stock and draw a clock on the front with its hands marking 12:00. Write your party details on the back.
  • Punch a hole in the corner of a card-style invitation and use ribbon to tie on a party popper. Mail these in padded envelopes and sprinkle glitter inside before sealing.

If you would rather not make your own invitations, let us print personalized invitations for you, which include all the party details on a themed background of your choice. Countdown to the New Year! Plan to start your party at 10:30 a.m. and have the children countdown to noon instead of midnight! Here are some ideas for making the countdown just as memorable as the real thing:

  • About ten minutes before noon, have all the kids choose a hat and noisemaker, and start a countdown timer.
  • Lower a ball-shaped pinata painted silver to resemble the ball in New York City. Once you hit 12:00, break open the pinata, and divide the candy among your guests.
  • Drop air-filled silver and gold balloons over the children as they shout “Happy New Year!”
  • Play the song “Auld Lang Syne” as the children celebrate.

Food, Favors, And Festivities.

A festive holiday atmosphere can really increase the fun and excitement at your Hanukkah Party. Here are a few Hanukkah decorations suggestions to get your creative juices flowing:

  • Welcome your guests to your Hanukkah party with a Personalized Hanukkah Banner.
  • Wrap empty boxes with colorful wrapping paper and set them on shelves around the party area. Set them on the food table to hold bowls of goodies.
  • Decorate in blue, white and silver. Drape crepe paper streamers from the ceiling and anchor groups of balloons around the party area.
  • Set up a menorah in an area where it can be seen, but will protect the candles from being blown out. Alternatively, use an electrical menorah.
  • Cut snowflakes and Stars of David out of construction paper and hang them from the ceiling with blue, white or silver curling ribbon.
  • Scatter gelt on all the tables in the party area.
  • Cut out menorahs from large sheets of construction paper and use them as placemats.
  • Make a menorah out of felt and attach it to the wall in the par

Here are some of our favorite Hanukkah party foods for your guests to enjoy!

  • Mix blue M&Ms with rice Chex mix.
  • For an easy dessert, serve cupcakes with peppermint ice cream.
  • Make latkes (potato pancakes) and serve them with sour cream, applesauce, or jam.
  • Make your own applesauce by combining apples, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract in a saucepan and cooking until smooth.
  • Make edible menorahs by cutting a banana lengthwise. Insert 8 pretzel sticks along the banana and press mini marshmallows or raisins on the other end to represent candle flames.
  • Serve sufganivah (traditional jelly doughnuts).
  • Make sugar cookies in the shape of dreidels and menorahs. Make this an activity by allowing the children to frost the cookies in blue and white frosting.
  • Make marshmallow dreidels. Stick a toothpick or pretzel stick through a marshmallow and attach a chocolate kiss to the top with some icing, so it comes to a point.

Hanukkah Party Favors

The holidays are a season of giving. Send your guests home from your Hanukkah party smiling with festive Hanukkah party favors! Here are a few Hanukkah party favor favorites:

  • Personalized Hanukkah favors
  • Dreidels
  • Bubblegum or chocolate Hanukkah gelt
  • A Hanukkah story book
  • A stuffed animal
  • Pajamas
  • A box of colorful Hanukkah candles

Planning A Hanukkah Party? Follow These Key Tips!

What Do I Need For my Hanukkah Party?

In addition to basic winter-themed or blue and white tableware, like plates, cups, napkins and decorations, you may want to consider purchasing, borrowing or renting the following items for your Hannukah party:

  • Supplies for making sugar cookies like our shaped cookie cutters
  • A Menorah
  • White & Blue Latex Balloons and/or Blue & Silver Star Mylar Balloons
  • White & Blue Streamers
  • Table decorations, like blue or white table covers, personalized Hanukkah party placemats, and gold coins to scatter on the party table
  • Winter and Hanukkah movies such as A Rugrats Chanukah, Balto, Happy Feet, and Frosty the Snowman
  • Holiday music
  • Yarmulkes for Your Guests

Creative invitations build excitement and set the mood before the party even starts! If you have time to make your own, consider these suggestions for your Hanukkah party invitations.

  • Attach a card-style invitation to a bag of gelt or personalized Hanukkah items and hand-deliver them to your guests. Our personalized Hanukkah invitations work great with this idea! Just punch a small hole in one corner of the invitation and attach it to the bag or favor with matching curling ribbon.
  • Seal your Hanukkah party invitation envelopes with our personalized winter stickers or personalized Hanukkah stickers for a special touch!
  • Create a card-style invitation out of white cardstock. Paste a die-cut menorah on the front, or draw one on with blue marker. Draw flames coming off each of the candle sticks, color them in with glue, and sprinkle them with gold glitter. Write “You’re Invited” on the front and all the party details inside.
  • Write the words to the dreidel song on the front of a card-style invitation and decorate with stickers. Write all the party details inside.

Cuisine Of Kwanzaa

Food

Kwanzaa dinners usually feature African-American dishes along with Caribbean, African and South American specialties. Save your biggest showstoppers for the feast of Karamu, celebrated on the sixth night of Kwanzaa, December 31.

Start your meal with okra gumbo or an African stew. Roast beef, lamb kabobs or jerk chicken or pork make a delicious centerpiece for your Kwanzaa feast.

Accompany your main dish with hearty sides like corn casserole, red beans and rice, sweet potato soufflé and fried okra. Round out the meal with zucchini bread, sweet potato pie and benne cakes (West African sesame cookies).

Drinks

Ginger Beer (serves 6 to 8)

Despite its name, this West African drink is non-alcoholic. You can spice it up by adding a shot of rum to each glass. Note: In this recipe the ginger must steep for 24 hours before serving.

  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound fresh ginger, peeled, coarsely chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar or white sugar
  • 1 lime, cut into 6-8 wedges, for garnish

Bring 6 cups water to boil in large saucepan. Finely chop ginger in processor. Transfer chopped ginger to large glass or ceramic bowl; add boiling water and stir to blend. Cover loosely with foil; let ginger mixture stand at cool room temperature 24 hours.

Strain ginger liquid into large pitcher; discard solids in strainer. Add sugar to liquid and stir until sugar dissolves. Fill glasses with crushed ice and pour ginger beer over ice. Serve each glass of ginger beer with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

Activities And Traditions Of Kwanzaa

 

Kwanzaa traditions center around the seven principles of the holiday, one for each night.

The celebration begins each night with someone calling out the greeting “Habari gani?” (“What’s the news?”). Everybody responds with the name of the principle for that night.

The candles of the kinara are then lit in a specific order. The first night, the black candle is lit. For each subsequent night one more candle is lit, from left to right.

The Seven Nights and Principles of Kwanzaa:

December 26 Umoja (Unity)
December 27 Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
December 28 Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
December 29 Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
December 30 Nia (Purpose)
December 31 Kuumba (Creativity)
January 1 Imani (Faith)
The sixth night, December 31, features a large feast called Karamu. On the final night, a farewell statement is given; everybody takes a final drink from the unity cup and the kinara candles are extinguished.

Activities

Kwanzaa is a family affair, so choose activities that honor and celebrate your nearest and dearest.

Put together a family scrapbook: Ask guests to bring their favorite photos and small, special mementos from the year and organize them into a scrapbook.
Let your creativity shine: Group sing-alongs, poetry readings and dance performances get the joint jumpin’ and keep everybody in the holiday spirit.
Create a family tree: Round up relatives to help you map out your family tree.
Make jewelry: String African beads into colorful necklaces and earrings. These will make gorgeous additions to your Kwanzaa set as well as great gifts.