This year, Hanukkah hits the calendar before Christmas. Ready to celebrate the Jewish Festival of Lights with an outta sight Hanukkah dinner party? Follow some or all of these tips and your guests won’t care which way you spell it – Chanukah or Hanukkah!
If at least some of your dinner guests are Jewish – or if they just happen to love and/or collect beautiful candleholders – make yours a “Bring Your Own Menorah” party!
The menorah used at Hanukkah is actually called a Chanukiah (Hah-noo-KEE-ah). It has nine candles, eight for the eight nights of Hanukkah and a ninth for the “shamash,” the candle used to light the others.
A room full of sparkling candles makes any party festive. Bring enough of them and you can cut the lights and enjoy the entire feast by candlelight!
You’ve likely heard of the dreidel with its basic premise. Use Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins in gold foil paper) to play or even a jar of pennies, but there are all kinds of variations on the idea available on the internet. And yes, many of them involve drinking if your guests are of age! You can get creative and make up your own, too.
3. Fried food
Hanukkah is the State Fair of Jewish holidays! The only real traditional foods for this one are latkes, which everyone loves because they’re wonderfully homemade patties of shredded potatoes and onion. Homemade jelly doughnuts often make an appearance, too.
Other fried foods can be brought or made, as well, to fit into the theme – which has its roots in celebrating the oil from the lamp that miraculously continued to burn.
This isn’t a tradition, but champagne and prosecco – and even non-alcoholic sparkling beverages – are celebratory and festive and refreshing. They also pair beautifully with fried food, helping to lighten the meal.
5. Hanukkah cookies
They do it for Christmas – so why not Hanukkah?! You can do a cookie exchange with your guests, where everyone brings their own homemade cookies and swaps, or you can make decorating sugar cookies a fun activity. Jewish stars, dreidels and even sparkly wintry snowflakes are just a few ideas.
6. Ugly Hanukkah sweaters
Believe it or not, they exist! That tradition was too fun for it to stay rooted in just one holiday. You don’t even have to go farther than the local Target to find them! This year they even have a half-Christmas/half-Hanukkah cardigan!
Every good party has fun favors! For Hanukkah, you can get as crazy as you like. One fun gift is pasta in the shape of the Star of David in a gourmet gift basket! Other ideas include Hanukkah socks, hollow dreidels filled with chocolate or Hanukkah cookie cutters, but there are dozens more ideas out there!