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    How to Plan the Best Hanukkah Party

     How to plan the best Hanukkah party

    The countdown is ON until the Festival of Lights, which means there will be parties galore, complete with stuffing our faces with latkes, and lots of menorah lighting. Obviously you want to look stylish for the party in your best Hanukkah apparel, but how else can you throw the party of the year?

    Here are our tips on how to plan the best Hanukkah party ever. 



    You want to wow your guests when they walk in! We suggest picking a color theme like blue and silver and then going to town. A chic Hanukkah Table Runner topped with a Dreidel Vase sets the stage perfectly. And serve your guests on cool Dreidel Plates. These Marzipan Pops from Marzipops double as decor and food and are perfect on any table.

    Marzipan Dreidels


    And speaking of food, like every Jewish holiday, a big part of Hanukkah the FOOD! Fried foods reign when it comes to Hanukkah recipes, like latkes and sufganiyot. But get creative with other fried treats like Deep Fried Matzo Balls. If you don't feel like making your own latkes (make them ahead of time, freeze, and and reheat in the oven right from the freezer) you can always get latkes delivered. And don't forget the gelt!

    Games + Presents

    How about an ugly Hanukkah sweater contest? Ugliest one wins? It's a classic! Maybe the winner can get something to add to their ensemble like these Menorah Sunglasses or everyone's favorite Nice Jewish Guy Calendar.

    And don't forget a rousing game of dreidel. Winner takes all the marbles! We love these Lego Dreidels because they can double as the prizes.

    Or how about Secret Hanukkah Harry- encourage your guests to bring a fun gift under $25. These Matzo Ballin' Socks will have everyone jealous.

    Menorah Time

    If your party is during the 8 days of Hanukkah, don't forget to light the menorah! We love mixing one classic one like this Building Bridges Menorah with one fun one like our Dinosaur Menorah.

    Don't forget the kiddos!

    If you're having kids are your party, make sure to have some Kids Hanukkah activities like this Dreidel Book, a Hanukkah version of Karaoke, a station to Make Your Own Hanukkah Candles or Dreidel Silly Putty to keep them occupied. All of these are pretty fun for adults too, come to think of it.

    Most of all, have fun! Your excitement and joy is contagious.


    Shop for Hanukkah

    How to Light the Hanukkah Candles

    What are the prayers for the first night of Hanukkah again?? Here is an easy reference for you! And if we still need a menorah? We have those for you too!

    Here's what you need to know. Each night, we add one more candle to the menorah, adding from right to left (just like Hebrew!). The first night (after sunset) we just light the shammus (the taller candle) and use that candle to light the furthest candle on the right, while saying the prayers below. The second night, we add one more candle, and use the shammus, light the two candles from left to right. Repeat each night until the whole menorah is lit!

    The Blessings:

    Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tsivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

    Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

    Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha'olam, she-asah nisim la'avoteinu v'imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz'man hazeh.

    Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wondrous acts for our ancestors in days of old at this season.

    On the first night, we add:

    Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha'olam, shehecheyanu v'kiy'manu v'higianu laz'man hazeh.

    Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

    Dreidel: Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About the Hanukkah Game


    Who doesn't love playing games? 
    Especially when those games involve winning chocolate money! (AKA chocolate gelt)
    During Hanukkah, one of the most popular traditions for children (and adults) is playing the dreidel game. There are many versions of the game; adults and children alike have found ways to "up" the ante to ensure it really is a classic. With all of this in mind, we decided to dive a bit into the history of the dreidel, game, and ways to play. Comment below to share your dreidel game traditions!

    What is a dreidel?
    A dreidel, or sevivon in Hebrew, is a four-sided spinning-top. Letters are inscribed into each side to commemorate the miracle of Hanukkah and comprise of the first letter of each word in the statement in Hebrew "נס גדול היה שם‎" (transliterated as Ness Gadol Haya Sham) and meaning "a great miracle happened there". There being Jerusalem, Israel, where the Hanukkah miracle occurred. 
    Need to buy a few dreidels? Check out our selection! They make wonderful gifts. 

    How did the game come about?
    There are many theories of how the dreidel game came about, but our personal favorite is that it originated from the English top called teetotum which was inscribed with letters denoting the Latin words for “nothing,” “half,” “everything” and “put in.” When the teetotum arrived in Germany it was called trendel. This evolved into dreidel in Yiddish and used as a teaching tool for letters. The game overtime was adapted into the game for Hanukkah. 

    How to play?
    Number of Players: 3-10 
    Ages: Any age! 
    Game Pieces
    The most important step is the selection of the winning/game pieces. The winner gets to keep all of the winnings so it's really important you pick wisely. Each player should start somewhere between 15-20 game pieces. Some of my favorite game pieces include:
    1. Chocolate gelt
    2. Quarters
    3. Raisins
    4. M&Ms
    Game Steps
    1. Split the pieces equally between all the players (~15-20 pieces each)
    2. Select a player to start, typically youngest player goes first. 
    3. Before the first player plays, each player puts in one piece into the pot. 
    4. Each player spins the dreidel once until it falls on a side. The side up decides which action the player needs to complete:
    • נ‎ (nun) is face up. The player gets a pass and does nothing.
    • ג‎ (gimel) is face up. The player gets everything in the pot!
    • ה‎ (hey)  is face up. The player gets half of the pieces (rounded up) in the pot.
    •  ש‎ (shin) is face up. The player puts a piece in the pot. 
    5. When the pot runs out, each player needs to put another piece in. 
    6. A player is out of the game when all of his/her pieces run out. 
    7. The game continues until a player wins all of the pieces 

    What other versions can we play?
    • Get Competitive! Turn the game into a real dreidel tournament with this Major League Dreidel's Spinagogue! (Sold out for the season.)
    • Adult Only Party? Introduce some fun drinking games!
    • Create your own dreidel bingo game
    Don't forget to tell us about your dreidel and Hanukkah traditions in the comments below :) 

    Applesauce or Sour Cream: The Latke Debate

    It's the age-old debate. The Latke Debate
    Applesauce or sour cream? Or something crazy like ketchup? How do you top your latkes? Try our latke recipe and leave a comment below with your favorite topping and why! We'll share the poll results soon.
    Latkes: Sour Cream or Applesauce
    Sour Cream
    made here

    My Favorite New Menorahs -- 2010 Hanukkah Gift Guide

    Taking an innovative approach to Hanukkah doesn’t mean downloading a menorah-lighting-app to your iPhone. Keep tradition burning with these modern interpretations of menorahs for your home:

    Areaware improves an ancient design by integrating a tray to their Wrought Iron Menorah ($150) that catches the candle drippings. I love this menorah because the lines are sleek, simple and modern but the heaftiness makes it feel like a barn-shed tool in your hand. Very manly.

    Peacocks are a hot motif this year. Jonathan Adler’s Peacock Menorah ($120) will give you something to strut about: either you’ve given the best gift at the party or you’ve got the finest menorah on the block. (Pictured with our candles.)

    Designed in Israel, handmade from resin in a Bulgarian fair-trade women's work group, the Funky Menorah by Lalo Treasures ($98) will fill all eight crazy nights with sparkle and flair.

    Upgrade your menorah lighting experience. Use modern, tubular, drip-less candles like these above that we gifted to Jonathan Adler ($14). Lose the free matches from the diner, light up with a bang with Pistolight by Sooda Mayer ($10) or go old style but in style with Jonathan Adler's Pipe Match Holder and Strike!

    See our entire 2010 Hanukkah Gift Guide for unique Hanukkah gifts for everyone. Even your non-Jewish friends will want this stuff it's so fab.