Hanukkah, or as my middle child calls it, “Da nights when we eat the donuts,” isn’t the biggest Jewish holiday of the year, but it’s definitely become the snazziest. Often with snazzy holidays I pretend to be a Jewish Betty Crocker of sorts. The Hanukkah crafts come out of the closet, the cookie cutters make their way out of the drawers and onto the table, and I’ll admit, there is a bit of competitive nature that arises.
Inside my head every Hanukkah there is a pesky cutthroat 12-year-old whispering: “Let’s make it look like a real Christmas this Hanukkah.” And if truth be told, it’s not even my own 12-year-old self. This is just me as a 40-year-old woman, loving anything with garland, feathers and shiny bulbs. The good news is that since I was a kid, Hanukkah has gained some serious advancement in the decorating/crafting department. So, I choose to embrace the Hanukkah holiday spirit by doing a little something different every night.
Now, as an interfaith family we do many Catholic and Jewish holidays. Since my true desire is for Hanukkah to be as big and glamorous as Christmas, it seems like Hanukkah has had a full makeover since I had kids. It’s like an episode of RuPaul’s drag race where everyone is given a box of decorations and an hour to make something unique, then out steps Hanukkah in a blue and silver gown with star sparkle hair like, “Yaaaaaasssssssssss, I’m here, and my dreidel’s are glowing.”
Here is my list of family-friendly Hanukkah crafts and activities which will be sure to bring your family together no matter if you’re Zooming, in-person, outdoors or with your community.
Go to a hardware store (I go to Lowes) and get a thick piece of wood the size of a ruler (one foot). They have long pieces so if you have two or three kids, you can have the wood cut in a few pieces.
Get nine steel nuts (not bolts), these will hold the candles. The kids can paint the wood and decorate it with stickers. Help them glue on the nine steel nuts (with one of them separated from the others in some way) to make their own menorah. My mother still has mine from kindergarten.
Cut out dreidels on thick paper and let the kids paint them with watercolors. Hang them with string for decorations.
Because we do Mexican and Jewish holidays, we are planning on doing a dreidel piñata. It’s going to be rad! And messy.
Try one of these recipes. Super fun!
I tell the kids we have to leave these out for the Hanukkah duendes. A duende is like a trouble-making sprite who haunts the house and breaks your dishes (in Mexican culture). I tell the kids that we have Jewish duendes who won’t leave unless we leave them the treats. Then the children go to bed and I eat all of these while watching old Barbra Streisand movies.
We use different Hanukkah cookie cutter shapes, like dreidels, menorah and stars.
All Hanukkah themed. Go wild on Etsy.
We choose a charity together so the kids learn about helping others. We also read a book every night about Hanukkah, or watch a video or make up stories.
I hope you enjoy these Hanukkah crafts as much as my family does. Chag Sameach and happy Hanukkah everyone!
Looking for more information about Hanukkah and how to celebrate as an interfaith family? Check out our comprehensive guide.