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December is here and we have officially entered that special time of year. When everyone seems to be in a good mood and ready to party at the drop of a hat. Whether it’s Christmas or Hanukkah, hosting or attending, we are all in the spirit to celebrate.
This past weekend I attended a Hanukkah party and not only did we enjoy ourselves thoroughly we also learned a bit along the way. When we arrived it was clear that this shindig was all about family, friends and celebrating. The party was all about the eight day festival of Hanukkah, the customs and traditions, the food and yes the fun.
Hanukkah Party Planning – What is Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is a special way to gather friends and family to share traditions and celebrate. Customarily friends and family are invited over to rejoice by exchanging gifts, eating, saying the Hanukkah blessing and most importantly lighting the menorah.
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah is recognized as the eight day winter celebration, the “Festival of Lights”. Hanukkah celebrates; the phenomenon that came about when the one day supply of lamp oil burned for eight days, it rejoices and celebrates the triumph of the Maccabees and the rededication of the Jewish temple.
Hanukkah happens on the 25th day of the month of Kislev on the Jewish calendar. Based on the Roman calendar this occurs sometime in November or December. Each and every night for eight nights, a Jewish family lights the menorah. On the first evening one candle is lit and on the second evening the next candle is lit and so on and so on. And each following night, one extra candle is added up to the eighth and final night. This very important tradition is a great part of the celebration of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah Party Planning – One, Two, Three…
Having a Hanukkah party is a wonderful way to share in the holiday traditions with those you love. From delicious food to fun activities from beautiful decorations to the ultimate in joy, when autumn hits the love and magic of Hanukkah is just around the corner. And whether this is the first or hundredth Hanukkah party you’ve hosted, there is, of course, some long established, time honored food and activity traditions you’ll want to ensure you have.
Decorations are an important part of the celebration. Be sure to adorn and decorate the space with the traditional colors of Hanukkah; blue, silver and white. Don’t stress, Hanukkah party supplies are plentiful and easy to find. Really Hanukkah party supplies are just like any other typical party decorations; they’re just themed around Hanukkah. In addition to balloons, banners, signs you will find everything you’ll possibly need to decorate; napkins, plates, cups, tablecloths and the like all designed with Dreidels, Menorahs and other holiday adornments and embellishments. There are so many possibilities to choose from. The party I attended this weekend had blue and white lights hung around the interior of the home adding that extra oomph!
Food glorious food! When it comes to Hanukkah and party food the first word that comes to mind is “traditional”. During Hanukkah it’s traditional to eat foods that are fried in oil and made with cheese. So watch your cholesterol, when it comes to the party bill of fare, the delicious potato latkes, jelly filled doughnuts and cheese appetizer, all on the menu and always a treat. And there are lots of classic foods that have over the years become popular to serve including slow roasted beef brisket, chicken liver pate, vegetable kugel, butter cookies, sweet honey desserts and don’t forget about the chocolate gelt (money)!
Games and Activities are a must when it comes to Hanukkah celebrating and ask anyone spinning that dreidel is an absolute. A dreidel is a four sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side. After making a bet with chocolate gelt, each player takes a turn at spinning the dreidel and depending on the letter it lands on the spinner follows the directions; taking some or all of the pot. The game is played until one player has won the entire pot and is the winner. And what about, the self-explanatory favorite “Hide the Chocolate Gelt” a fun and entertaining game for kids of all ages. Really who amongst us doesn’t love finding and stocking up on some delicious chocolate coins. And don’t forget about conventional board games too or this is the perfect opportunity to create new game traditions of your own.
Hanukkah Party Planning – Thinking of Others!
The party I just attended had an extra special touch that I loved. The host asked each guest to bring an unwrapped toy to help those less fortunate and not able to celebrate in the same manner we were about to. After the party the host not only donated the gifts to a charity they matched the amount of gifts providing an amazing hall for others. I will forever include this touch in my future holiday party planning.
In the midst of all the craziness of the holidays, it’s very easy to lose sight of the real reason for the get together. In the truest sense it’s all about family, friends and faith. By keeping this in mind and with some pre-planning, attention and effort you will host a most wonderful Hanukkah party that will be remembered for days to come.