Celebrating Hanukkah!

By Julia Bauer
Boy and mom playing dreidel

The first day: December 7

December 7 marks the beginning of the eight-day celebration of the Festival of Lights. This year, share these special times with friends and family by welcoming in new traditions and celebrating Hanukkah with family favorites.

  • Serve amazing potato latkes.
  • Play the dreidel game.
  • Display a beautiful Menorah to light each night with friends and family.
  • Create special, lovely place settings at the table
  • Enjoy challah bread at your meal.
  • Share Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins) with the children each night.
  • Make homemade fried doughnuts.
  • Celebrate and make new memories!

Spinning the dreidel

Spinning the dreidel is a fun part of the traditional Hanukkah celebration! Dreidels are four-sided spinning tops inscribed with the נ (nun), ג (gimel), ה (hei) and ש (shin). Together these make an acronym for a saying that translates to “A great miracle happened there.”

According to the Jewish faith, when the Jews were hiding from the Greeks in caves, learning about their religion, teachers would tell the children to put their scrolls away and take out the dreidels when soldiers were approaching.

How to Play

The game starts with every player putting a piece into the pot and spinning the dreidel.
The pieces can be anything but are typically gelt, or chocolate coins, and the letter that lands face up tells you what to do:

Nun – Nothing happens

Gimel – Player gets all the pieces in the pot

Hei – Player gets half of what is in the pot

Shin – Player has to put a piece in the pot

Potato Latkes!

Potato latkes are a great way to celebrate Hanukkah! Recipe submitted by Laurel Housden.


  • 1 pound potatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Peel potatoes and coarsely grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated. Soak potatoes 1 to 2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up jelly-roll style. Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible. Transfer potato mixture to a bowl and stir in egg and salt.

Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4 latkes, spoon 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into skillet, spreading into 3-inch rounds with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes. Turn latkes over and cook until undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt. Add more oil to skillet as needed. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in oven.

Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

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