My husband and I invented No Limit Texas Dreidel so that adults (and older children) can enjoy dreidel too. Here are some other ideas to make your Hanukkah party fun and meaningful for your adult friends whether they are Jewish or not.
Have guests bring a symbol of a freedom they are guarding or fighting for. Yes, there is the (silly) story about oil lasting for eight days. But, really, Hanukkah is a celebration of religious freedom. In 167 B.C.E. the Maccabees fought Antiochus who brought Greek idols into the Temple and banned the practice of Judaism. The menorah is the Jewish symbol of this fight for freedom. Ask guests, "What freedom are you guarding or fighting for?" Invite guests to bring an object that represents this freedom. Guests can choose to share the meaning with the group or simply set the item with the others.
Upgrade your holiday menu for an adult palate. Chocolate gelt (coins) has developed a bad reputation as something you don't necessarily want to eat. Serve gourmet chocolate coins, which the most discerning chocolate lovers will appreciate, such as those (personally taste-tested and approved by me!) from Madelaine, Godiva, or See's. Serve sweet potato latkes or Zucchini Latkes with Garlic by Faye Levy, the cooking columnist for the Jerusalem Post, or try serving traditional latkes (like those from Modern Jewish Mom Meredith Jacobs) with gourmet Rosemary and Brown Butter Applesauce from Bon Appetit. The Bon Appetit website has many gourmet latke recipes.
Tzedakah is always appropriate for any Jewish holiday. Tzedakah is translated as "charity," but its root, tzedek, means justice: We give not only to help those in need but to help set things right, as part of the process of creating a just world. Have guests bring a grocery bag of food for your local feed-the-hungry program or a toy for the Toys for Tots program. Or have each guest "buy in" to receive their chocolate gelt for the No Limit Texas Dreidel game and make a group donation to a local charity. The buy-in idea came from a ModernTribe customer, who is doing this for her own Hanukkah party this year.