It’s the season to observe the Jewish holiday – Hanukkah. The eight crazy nights begin at sundown on December 7. Get in the holiday spirit with decorations and traditional foods – here are some fun and festive ideas to try.

Find Hanukkah events and activities around Atlanta with this list of Best Things to Do for Hanukkah Fun.

DIY Decorations

Hanukkah decorations can be hard to find and may not have the look you are going for. Instead of stressing, make it a fun family activity and create some of your own. Plus, you can date them and then look back on the memories you made as you celebrate Hanukkah each year.

Dreidel Garland – You can make strands of garland in dreidel shapes to match the colors in your home. Then adorn the mantle or staircases with your artful creations. Cut dreidels out of cardboard and then cover them in foil paper or wrapping paper to give the colors and patterns you want. Attach the dreidels to string or yarn with hot glue to create the garland.

Paper Napkin Rings – When you invite family and friends over for latkes, create cute paper napkin rings with Stars of David cutouts or drawings of menorahs. You can use a variety of shades of blue and white to make them pop. Also, they can double as place cards by simply adding each guest’s name to their napkin ring.

Door Banner – Create an outdoor decoration with some felt. You’ll need a sturdy ribbon for the top so it hangs nicely on the front door. Cut letters out of felt (or get some help from store bought ones), add glitter and shiny stars to highlight the theme of the holiday.

Wrapping Paper – Get white and brown craft paper, some Hanukkah-shaped stamps and paint. Then, let the kids go wild making their own unique designs. It will make opening gifts even more fun since they will have helped with the gift wrapping.

Spread Your Light!

Make one night “give back night.” Have your kids choose a present for a child in need and donate it. Or, choose a local non-profit to make a family donation or volunteer with.

Hanukkah Crafts

Paper Plate Menorah
Make a hanging decoration with a few simple materials. You’ll need a paper plate, paper, paints or markers, glue and ribbon. Cut a paper plate in half and paint it gold. Cut our paper candles and paint or color with makers. Glue to the back of the plate.  Add a ribbon for hanging. Find complete instructions and a candle template at Nurture Store.

Star of David Ornament
These easy-to-make stars make great hanging ornaments, or use them to decorate the Hanukkah table. You’ll need six craft sticks for each ornament. Use craft glue to create triangles with three craft sticks; stack the triangles as shown to form a star. Paint the ornaments silver and add a ribbon for hanging. For a placecard, write names on cardstock and tie them to each star.

Dreidel Banner
This easy craft is made with felt, so there’s no sewing involved. You’ll need craft felt in white, light blue, royal blue and yellow. Cut the main dreidel shapes from blue felt. Cut stars, diamonds and circles in a variety of colors and use craft glue to adhere them to the dreidels. When dry, glue each shape to a string or ribbon.

Hanukkah Recipes

Potato latkes, or pancakes, are traditionally served during Hanukkah, usually with sour cream or applesauce.  To make them, you’ll need potatoes, onion, eggs, flour, salt and oil for frying. Find the full recipe at Make a batch at home with this latke recipe from

Latke Love
Latkes – traditionally potato pancakes – are the quintessential Hanukkah food. If you’re looking for some new ways to jazz them up, try one of these.

  • Sweet Potato Latkes: Instead of white potatoes, use sweet potatoes and a touch of cinnamon. It’s a fun flavor profile and a good way to get your kids to try a different type of potato.
  • Giant Latkes: If you still want the fried effect, but don’t want to make as many latkes, make one the size of your frying pan and then just slice it and serve. It might look like pizza, but it’s still a latke!
  • Muffin Tin Latkes: If you hate the way your house smells after frying latkes for an hour or two, try this hack! Place dollops of latke mixture in greased muffin tins and then flatten with a spoon. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, then flip and bake for about 5 more minutes.
  • Sauce Substitutes: Swap the classic sour cream for tzatziki or ranch dip. Instead of applesauce, try peach or tomato chutney.

Marshmallow Dreidels

For this tasty treat, you’ll need marshmallows, pretzel sticks, chocolate kisses, blue decorating sugar and vanilla frosting.  Insert a pretzel into the top of a marshmallow and spread a small amount of frosting on the sides. Roll in decorating sugar. Use a dab of frosting on the bottom to add a chocolate kiss.

Stained Glass Cookies
Roll out sugar cookie dough and cut into rounds or squares. Use a star or dreidel cookie cutter (or make a paper pattern) to cut shapes in the center of each round.  Fill the shapes with crushed Jolly Rancher candies and bake.  Find the complete recipe at Living Sweet Moments.

Hanukkah Books


Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel (Holiday House)
Bubba Brayna’s famous latkes attract a very hungry unexpected visitor in this humorous tale.

Latke, the Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer (Lerner Publishing Group)
Rescued from the animal shelter on the first night of Hanukkah, Latke the dog helps teach the lesson of gratitude.

Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko (Random House Children’s Books)
Holiday time at Sadie’s means a menorah and a tree. This story shows how families can blend both holidays for a joyful celebration.

Tali Benjamin

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