Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Are your kids excited about Hanukkah? Here is what we do in our secular family that celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah as cultural holidays.
Hanukkah book and a menorah craft
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Hanukkah for Blended and Secular Families

We haven’t celebrated Hanukkah when I was a child. My parents were not raised in religious families and the only religious holiday that was somewhat marked on the calendar was Passover. But as an adult, I am fascinated with Hanukkah and its 8 days of special events. My many Israeli co-workers are doing 8 days of presents for their kids, but this would be way too much considering that we celebrate Christmas as well. We are not going for 8 days of presents, but there will be some presents on the first and the last days of Hanukkah including a special one that I brought home from my last visit to Israel - a beautiful homemade dreidel.  By the way, it was not easy to find a dreidel in Israel – my coworkers looked at me funny when I told them what I want and told me that one can buy them only close to Hanukkah time (I was there in September). However, I managed to find my dreidel in an airport shop on the way bac, and now  Smarty is old enough to be able to spin it. She is looking forward to playing dreidel, eating latkes, and, of course, to nightly lighting of a menorah.  I wish I could say that it’s a special heirloom menorah, but, alas, as I said, my Jewish grandparents were absolutely not religious, and I’ve never seen them lighting candles on religious holidays. Our menorah comes from Target.

A Hanukkah/Christmas Book for Interfaith Families

Light the Lights
I was delighted to find a book that features a family celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas. Light the Lightsby Margaret Moorman doesn’t explain the origins of either holiday, but focuses instead on modern family celebrations around both Hanukkah and Christmas and on the fact that children and their parents can enjoy both holidays and have more occasions to share joy with their friends and family. This is exactly the tradition that we are trying to shape in our own family.

A Hanukkah Menorah Craft

Handprint Menorah Craft
Smarty is very excited about Hanukkah crafts, which is uncommon for her. So far we have made a handprint menorah for the postcard that went to grandparents and the matching Christmas Star and David Star sun catchers for her bedroom window. On Monday she came back to school to find a package that we received from Frugal Family Fun. One of  the gifts was tied with a beautiful bright ribbon, and somehow this ribbon was the most desired part of the package for her. She announced that she would make a menorah out of the ribbon. She planned and executed the whole thing herself and decided that giant marshmallows will make perfect candle holders (she doesn’t like to eat them).
Making a Menorah
Eventually I convinced her to use playdoh for candle holders, because I wasn’t sure whether marshmallows will keep well.
I am very excited about tonight when we will light the first candle of menorah, eat latkes and let Smarty open her presents. Happy Hanukkah and happy first day of December, everyone.

Your Turn

Do you somehow mark Hanukkah holiday in your house?

More Hanukkah ideas for kids

Follow a collaborative board Hanukkah
Follow Cassie Osborne ('s board Chanukkah / Hanukkah on Pinterest. Hanukkah Celebrations


Ticia said...

I'm on the lookout for some good Hanukkah books, so I'll have to see if I can find that at our local bookstore or maybe the library.....

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

We have latkes on the menu for tonight (after sundown), too. It will be our first attempt at them, but we're following a recipe from the back of one of our picture books, so I think we'll be okay.

I think Israel corners the market on really interesting, and fun holidays.

Anna's idea with the marshmallows is terrific!

Christy said...

I love her idea to use marshmallows. So clever.

Enjoy your celebration!

Julie said...

Happy Hanukkah! Unfortunately, it looks like both of the books you read aren't available at our library. But we got a few Hanukkah books that we're reading this week. I'll write about them on Saturday, but here are the titles: Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale by Brian P. Cleary; Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book by Laura Krauss Melmed; Biscuit's Hanukkah by Alyssa Satin Capucilli.

Discovering Montessori said...

Happy Hanukkah! I can feel your excitement hope you share some pictures of your moments. Thank you for sharing.

RedTedArt said...

Happy Hanuka to you too!

And what a lovely craft! It is amazing to see how independent they get and how many great ideas they come up with (the marshmallow holder is ingenius, even if not very practical)!!

Appreciate the link up to Kids Get Crafty! :-)


Phyllis said...

We are hoping that there might be some books left at the library today. We have latkas and jelly doughnuts planned, but it looks like we won't get to them until at least tomorrow! I am glad that Hanukkah is not a one day event!

Debbie said...

I have to look for that book! I love Anna's idea of marshmallows to hold her candles.

Happy Hanuka!

MaryAnne said...

I'mg oign to see if our library has that storybook.

And you were right about the marshmallows, they don't keep well (speaking from experience). And in California, they might even attract ants...

Happy Hanukkah!

Our Homeschool Fun said...

I hope our library has the book you linked to--thank you!

Good luck with the marshmallows! Here they turn to a sticky gob instantly with the year round humidity no matter how well I store them.

I really like the way you made the menorah--it turned out so colorful and bright.

I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating and you enjoy your latkes too!

Anonymous said...

Happy Hanukkah! I hope you have a wonderful week. It sounds like you've found some great books and have some special family time planned.

Kim said...

Thank you for the book recommendations. We are having trouble finding any decent ones. And we made our own paper dreidel, but next year, we'll have to order one from somewhere. Mine is not too solid! We're going to try latkes tonight. I love Anna's menorah plan. So creative!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

Happy Hanukkah! I love her craft!

The girl who painted trees said...

Love her craft. She's so innovative:)

Michelle said...

What a great post! So creative and fun :-) I love the menorah Anna adorable.

Melaina25 said...

So excited to see another Chanukah post! I knew I couldn't be the only one getting crafty with a menorah :)