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How to have a safe and fun Hanukkah



The festival of lights can still brighten your home

How to have a safe and fun Hanukkah


Hanukkah 2020 is an eight day celebration beginning at sundown on Thursday December 10th  through Friday December 18th. Even though this time period also occurs during rising numbers of Covid-19 cases and heightened concerns about continued spread, experts can now authoritatively advise on how you and your family can stay safe. Or, as Lisa Millabrand writes in Real Simple: “With a little creativity there’s plenty of Hanukkah fun to be had without increasing your family’s risk of contracting coronavirus.”

First and foremost, to put it bluntly, keep people outside your family or pod out of your house. Or as she puts it: limit the guest list.

Zoom is good for connecting with folks you might normally be spending this time with, like grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends. In the unlikely event you needed to be reminded of that. 

If weather permits (one never knows in the Hudson Valley) an outdoor celebration is reasonably safe, if you keep socially distant and remain masked. Millabrand advises an LED menorah for this venture.

My personal favorite Millabrand recommendation is Pajamakah, a full embrace of the slacking off of wardrobe rules in quarantine. (I am, in fact, writing this very article in flannel pajamas and fleece robe.)

READ MORE: Celebrate Hanukkah with activity book for kids

Millabrand also suggests making one Hanukkah night a “breakfast for dinner” affair. Regarding the all-important food aspects of the holiday, she reminds us that we can still enjoy the same treats and Hanukkah recipes with friends if they live close enough. Who wouldn’t like to get some rugelach, sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), or a little gelt delivery?

Focusing more specifically on toddlers and preschoolers, Maressa Brown at Care.com offers up a whopping “101 Hanukkah activities for kids of all ages,” all of which can be done at home surrounded by family or those in your pod. They include such interesting suggestions as using dough to make the four Hebrew letters on the dreidel, and discussing each letter in the process. Experts have long heralded the efficacy of such teaching through play.

Brown’s list returns again and again to multi-sensory learning. She offers tips such as creating an upcycled menorah from an egg carton, or one from cardboard tubes, or Lego, or baby food jars, or felt. Or cupcakes with candles in them, which provides a multi-tiered opportunity for sensory learning about the Hanukkah story as well a chance to make and eat something delicious.

Both of these writers remind us that it only takes a little creative energy to maintain – or even improve – a sense of fun, or intergenerational bonding, and a feeling of genuine connection to loved ones during the holiday season, pandemic of not.



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