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Celebrate : Hanukkah Crafts and Activities!

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Hanukkah is early this year, December 8th! My sons and I often make homemade menorahs right before the holiday. Menorahs are candelabra, an important part of this "festival of lights" and the boys like having their own to light. Check our December issue--or click here--for a few new and easy ideas for making your own menorahs, like the one made with wooden cube beads, pictured above or the branch menorah, below.

Besides crafting menorahs I am always looking for new ways to celebrate. As an interfaith family we celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. I yearn for  fun alternatives to excessive gift giving. Luckily, my friend and coworker Robin Rosenthal (check out her amazing posters here) mentioned that she got some great ideas for new Hanukkah traditions and activites from her friends Julie Slotnik Sturm, Holly Thompson, and Matt Morrison.

This Hanukkah envelope gift display would be a fun way to present the activities listed gifts!

"A few of us in interfaith homes were talking about the burden of giving gifts for Hanukkah AND Christmas. It’s overwhelming for so many reasons: financial, too much stuff, etc. So here is my alternative to giving 8 gifts to each kid. And it works in Jewish-only homes too!

Night 1 -- Each child gets a toy or game

Night 2 - Decorate envelopes with markers & stickers. Fill with charity $$ and/or give to building super, nanny, etc.

Night 3 - Invite friends over that don’t celebrate Hanukkah. Show them how you light the menorah, say prayers, play dreidel, eat latkes.

Night 4 - Each child in the family gives the other a book. If there is one child -- s/he gets a book as a gift.

Night 5 - After dinner, walk to local donut store for jelly donuts -- kids get to wear their pajamas!

Night 6- Bake cookies and bring them to the fire department.

Night 7 - Give a shared gift for all the kids to enjoy - a DVD, Bey Blades Stadium etc.

Night 8 - Each child gets a toy or game"

"Matt and I came up with the idea of two coupons -- one for a one-on-one "parent date" for each girl (one with me, the other with Matt, they choose the activity) and the other for a family trip to the Bronx Zoo on a school day in January."

Thanks Robin, Julie, Holly and Matt!

Happy Hanukkah!

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