Eight necessities for a successful eight nights of Hanukkah

Natalie Tress

With Hanukkah right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about how to make your festivities the best they can be. Here are eight suggestions on how to make your eight nights of Hanukkah both fun-filled and rewarding. 

One: A tasty latke recipe

Latkes, or pan-fried potato pancakes, are a staple of all Hanukkah meals. Traditionally latkes are made with a mixture of potatoes, eggs, flour and seasonings such as salt, pepper and onion. They are commonly paired with applesauce or sour cream as well (I prefer the former). If you don’t have the time to make your latkes from scratch, Trader Joe’s carries an easy and delicious frozen latke alternative. You can find a delicious homemade latke recipe here. Careful not to eat too many, though, because you will love them a latke!

Two: High-quality candles

Each night of Hanukkah a new candle is lit on the menorah to represent each of the eight nights that the Maccabees’ oil lantern lasted. As you celebrate the Maccabee victory over the  Syrian army and the miracle of the oil lasting eight nights, mess-free candles are a necessity. It is a pain when candle wax drips onto the festively decorated table, ruining the holiday display, so find dripless Hanukkah candles on Amazon here to minimize any unwanted WAXidents. 

Three: A fun dreidel game

Playing the classic dreidel game is an entertaining way to spend your Hanukkah nights. The game consists of spinning a top to see which side it lands on, with each side displaying a different Hebrew letter to determine how much of the chocolate gelt prize you receive. If you land on “nun” you get nothing, if it is “gimmel” you get the whole prize, if it is “hay” you get half the prize and if it is “shin” you must give back a portion of the prize. You can find large packs of affordable dreidels on Amazon here. Spin into a fun-filled Hanukkah season!

Four: Listen to Adam Sandler’s “Hanukkah Song”

Amp up the festivities with Adam Sandler’s classic Saturday Night Live “Hanukkah Song.” You can view the original performance here. Originally written to provide more options in the vast amount of Christmas music, this song puts a humorous spin on the celebration of Hanukkah. Hilarious lyrics from the song include, “You don’t need “Deck the Halls” or “Jingle Bell Rock,” because you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (both Jewish!).”

Five: Decorations!

Polish your menorah and decorate your house with festive blue and yellow string lights. While they may stand in contrast to neighboring Christmas trees and red and green lights, they will add even more festivity to your street. A variety of thematic decorations can be found on Amazon or Party City here, so order now to make the most out of the holiday. You do not want your decorations to be dreiDULL!

Six: Connect with family

Hanukkah is a great opportunity to spend more time with your family, both distant and immediate. This year, pull out your laptop and gather around the dinner table for a big Zoom celebration! Enjoy traditional Hanukkah meals together like brisket, challah, kugel and jelly doughnuts for dessert, while catching up with one another. Enjoy this much-needed family time, and happy Challah-days!

Seven: Make a Hanukkah wish list

Instead of making a Christmas list for one day of presents, you can make a Hanukkah present wish list for eight whole nights! If you are looking for some Hanukkah themed clothing and items to add to your list, Amazon carries some humorous Hanukkah sweaters and other gadgets. Pinterest is a great place to look if you need present ideas; that is where I have found most of my inspiration!

Eight: Stock up on gelt

These golden chocolate coins are a delicious way to end each night. Whether you win them in a dreidel game or sneak them out of the pantry, it is impossible to stop eating them once you start. Find bags of gelt at your nearest grocery store or here on Amazon, because, during Hanukkah, they will be your biggest GELT-y pleasure.