The eight-day Festival of Lights commemorates the Maccabees victory over the oppressive Syrian king, and the miracle that occurred after the Jews regained their temple. The victors found enough purified oil to keep the temple's candles burning for only one day. But the oil lasted for eight days, allowing them to purify more.
- What kind of presents to give, and how many, is your call. You can stick to the simple traditions and give a little gelt (money) on the first night, you can go all out and give an elaborate gift on each of the eight nights, or you can reach for some sort of middle ground.
- Hanukkah does not rank among the Jewish High Holy Days. Rather, like winter celebrations on the Christian and pagan calendars, it invites everyone to welcome the light - in both literal and spiritual forms - and to rejoice in the blessings of home, friends and family.
- Get a menorah and light the requisite number of candles each night.
- Sing Hanukkah songs such as "Maoz Tzur," which means "Rock of Ages" and tells the story of the first Hanukkah.
- Tell your own stories of the first Hanukkah.
- Encourage older family members to reminisce about holiday memories from their childhoods.
- Play gambling games with the dreidel, a four-sided top. (Traditionally this is a children's activity, but who says they should have all the fun)
- Make sufganiyot, which are deep-fried, jelly-filled doughnuts.
- Stage a latke-making contest, and invite friends and family to bring the makings of their favorite potato pancake recipes.
- Give presents to all the children in the family.