Eight Ideas for Hanukkah Nights and None of Them are Presents

Hanukkah is one of the most beloved Jewish holidays. But it can be hard to get your kids focused less on "eights nights of presents" and more on eight nights celebration. Here are some themes that can help make your family's Hanukkah a bit brighter this year.  

Decoration Night 

On the first night, decorate your home for Hanukkah. Need ideas? Make crafts with tutorials from Creative Jewish Mom or hit your local craft for some blue and silver inspiration. You can also find some ideas in our post 12 Hanukkah Activities We Love.

Memory Book Night

Begin a “scrapbook” to document your family Hanukkah experiences.  Add photos and drawings along with quotes from every family member to begin a tradition that can be added to every year. 

Family Tree Night

Trace the roots of your family tree. Start by telling stories and asking each other questions. Use a big sheet of paper or dry erase markers on a glass door to list the members of your family and create the branches. Encourage children to list whoever comes to mind--whether they're biological or chosen family. 

Look at Lights Night 

Take a cue from the story Chanukah Lights Everywhere and spend time looking at the lights all around you. If it's warm enough, take a flashlight outside and look at the stars, or, on a chilly night, hop in the car and take a ride through town to notice the lights on signs, decorations, and streetlights.

Song & Dance Night 

Circle round the Hanukkah lights and sing a few holiday classics. More adventurous singers might consider learning one of these Top Ten Hanukkah Songs. Need more ideas for some non-traditional songs to sing or tracks to dance to? Head over to our post Singing (and Dancing) Through Hanukkah.

Latke Night 

Even young children can pat-pat-pat latkes into patties. Read Kveller.com's “Not Your Mother’s Latkes” for some new latke ideas. Or, enjoy making traditional latkes. You can even try your hand at gluten-free and vegan latke varieties.

Gratitude Night

Take time to just "be" as a family. Talk about the things you're grateful for--each other, your home, games you play, favorite treats to eat, quirks, traditions, anything. You can have a conversation or spend the night doing a bigger activity like making a gratitude wall. For more ideas, check out 8 Ways to Teach Kids About Gratitude.

Cookie Night  

Put a Hanukkah twist on the classic sugar cookie. Read a story like Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles to complement your baking. If you want to just focus on decorating, go the "semi-homemade" route with a tube of premade cookie dough. Just cut, bake, then decorate.

Do you have an idea for a theme night? Share it with us on Facebook!

Find Hanukkah activities, recipes, story ideas, and more on the PJ Library Hanukkah hub.