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E is for … Eight Ways I’m Rockin’ Hanukkah This Year

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I admit it. Hanukkah isn’t the most glamorous of holidays. Especially when compared to that other holiday we celebrate in our house — you know, the one with the shiny tree and some guy named Santa. Apparently, oil burning in a temple thousands of years ago isn’t as exciting as a man with a giant sleigh and flying reindeer.

That said, I’m determined that this year is going to be different. This year I’m going to make Hanukkah a holiday they’ll remember, even when we’re baking cookies for Santa and hanging stockings with care. Here are eight ways I’m going to rock Hanukkah this year.

1. Serve up a whole lotta latkes. Granted, I’ve never made latkes before (thank you, Granny!), but if oil can burn for eight days in ancient Jerusalem, it can certainly burn for an hour or so in my kitchen. I’ve got my grandfather’s recipe, a sack of potatoes, and a dream in my heart. Bring on the starch!

2. Make it a family affair. Nothing makes a holiday special like gathering with family to eat, drink, and get into a shouting match over who forgot the applesauce five years ago. This Hanukkah I’m looking forward to family bonding (and drama) with the ones I love.

3. Finally learn what the letters on the dreidel mean. Each year I struggle to remember the meaning of those Hebrew letters (even after landing on shin ten times and losing all my money). However, if I ever want to realize my dream of becoming a dreidel hustler — or at least teach my kids how to play the game — it’s time to commit.

4. Indulge in Jewish gelt. Turns out you can buy love … if you’re using chocolate money.

5. Bring on Pandora. I used to think my only song options were “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” and “The Dreidel Song.” However, I recently discovered Pandora’s Hanukkah station, and suddenly it’s hip hop Hanukkah around here. I, for one, am looking forward to a rousing post-dreidel reenactment of Step Up 3D.

6. Tell ’em a tale. Oppressive emperors. Sword-wielding high priests. Armored war elephants. The story of Hanukkah is nothing if not dramatic. Yeah, Santa is cool. But in a fight between Santa and Judah Maccabee, you know who my Hanukkah gelt would be on.

7. Say a little prayer. Woven throughout my holiday memories is the Hanukkah blessing, sung reverently over burning candles, connecting my family to generations before us. Now it’s time to pass on that tradition. While the words may be foreign, I know my kids will sense their connection to something bigger as well.

8. Spend time together. To me, the best part of Hanukkah isn’t the presents or even the food. Rather, it’s that, for eight days, my family sets aside time to spend together — whether it’s just a few minutes lighting candles, or an evening visiting loved ones. This year, I plan to take advantage of the holiday to disconnect from life’s many distractions, and reconnect with the people I love. While eating latkes, of course.

Yes, it may be ambitious of me to think that, amid the sparkling lights of Christmas, I can fry up some Hanukkah love this season. Then again, as the oil burning in the ancient Temple proves, greater miracles have happened.

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17 Comments

  1. Remember sour cream with the latkes, and don’t forget to sing, as you make them, “Mrs. Maccabeus and Her Latkes.” Have a very happy holiday–both of them!

  2. Enjoy! We celebrate both Christmas and Hannukah and are looking forward to pigging out on chocolate gelt and crispy latkes all weekend!

    Amanda
    http://www.queenofthelandoftwigsnberries.com

  3. The latkes will be delicious, but take care not to get burned by the oil when you turn them over. Wishing you and the family happy holidays.

  4. Can I come over?! I would love to participate in all that!! I hope it goes well. And the children learn a lot about the traditions of their ancestors. A fun post!

  5. Sounds like a ‘rockin’ good time. I have never had latkes. I love potatoes so I’m sure they would be good.

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  7. Latkes sound delicious. (Maybe time consuming too.) Anything with potatoes are good in my book. With applesauce and sour cream? I’d be willing to try it. Enjoy celebrating!!

  8. Sounds like a great plan to make Hanukkah special in your home this year! My mom used to make latkes for my dad, I loved them with applesauce!!

  9. I am not Jewish and my wife is so we celebrate both as well…My wife take on the Latkes and gelt!
    I absolutely love the Jewish traditions we have been doing for the last 9 years with our son…very important and fun! Love your post..Keep it up!

    ps: Happy Hanukah and try to fit in some noodle kugle this year!

  10. Happy Hanukkah! Your plan to rock out Haukkah sounds perfect :) I’m not Jewish, but my family enjoys lighting the menorah, eating latkes, and dreidel is “the” game at my house right now. I’m not sure if dreidel is supposed to get so competitive, but my family has found a way.
    XOXO

  11. I bet you would rock any party you attend my friend! I love latkes. (I have only had the german variety mind you). Mmm….I top mine with cottage cheese and green onion! Thanks for linking up with us!

  12. My husband WISHES we were Jewish. Though I do understand this time of year it’s a bit easier to get swept away by that stuff under that tree, hip hop Hanukkah sounds like it has merit. My hubby is convinced you guys both have more fun and eat better. Latkes are certainly one of many delicious dishes. Thanks for linking up!

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