December is all about the 25 days of Christmas whether you watch Elf a million times on ABC Family or Ellen DeGeneres’ Holiday Themed 12 days of Giving. While you’re pulling a George Washington and chopping down a tree, some people are lightening Menorahs. The Jewish holiday began Saturday at sunset and lasts till December 16th. Even if you’re not Jewish but want to surprise your friends, here are eight things that are crucial when preparing for the festivities that take place during Hannukkah.
- Get Your Gifts on Time or Even Early – Don’t trust next day shipping. I’m calling out my brother on that one. Have your family take part in a “Secret Samuel” or “Hanukkah Harry” and get something small for someone you care about. Whether it is a gag gift or a gift card, Hanukkah is about giving. www.elfster.com is a convenient website that helps pick people for you to give gifts secretly to.
- Get your Gelt and Dreidels On — For those who didn’t know, Gelt is a Yiddish word for money. Since we try not to promote gambling to children, gelt are typically chocolate shaped coins that are won when playing Dreidel. Dreidels are tops that spin and have four Hebrew letters on them. I forget which is which because I somehow got kicked out of Hebrew school. Nun, Gimel, Hay, and Shin if you really wanted to know. In the end, everybody wins when there is chocolate shaped money.
- Pull the Menorah out of the Attic and Dust it Off — Make sure to get enough candles for all of the eight nights.
- Play Hanukkah Music — Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” (what number is he up to these days?) and “I had a little Dreidel.” While they may not be topping the Billboard charts, they are instant classics that everybody can sing along to.
- Latkes All Over the Place — Latkes are fried potato pancakes that are delicious. They can be eaten plain, with apple sauce, and/or sour cream. As most holidays are just another excuse to stuff your face, it may not be healthy to eat these all eight nights.
- Take a Break From Eating Latkes, (See #5) to Remember the History behind the traditions of this holiday. Retell the story of the oil that lasted for eight nights and teach it to those that may not know it.
- Watch Hanukkah Movies and Television Shows – Keeping up with Adam Sandler, Eight Crazy Nights, is pretty epic, especially because my girl Tyra Banks makes a voice cameo as a floating dress. Definitely don’t forget to indulge in the best episode of The O.C, the “Chrismukkah” because Sandy Cohen is the man and both Moses and Jesus had beards.
- On Campus? Go to Penn State Hillel — On Saturday night at 7 p.m. enjoy free appetizers for Jews and Brews: Hannukah Edition hosted at Cafe 210 West.
- A bonus one for good luck. The shamash is technically the ninth candle on the Menorah. This is used to light all the other candles each night. Make sure you throwback with The Rugrats Hanukah Episode, it is just amazing.
Side note: There are like ten ways to spell it: Hanukkah, Chanukah, Chanukkah or Hanukah but make sure you say it with the chhhh throat sound. You know the one. So pick your favorite, I tend to switch it up. Sorry about that.
How will you be celebrating the festival of lights this year?
Lauren Feinstein is a senior Telecommunications major who is now currently accepting Hannukkah gifts and hangs stockings on her fireplace that say Shalom. Also, her mother was born on Christmas so that’s what she really celebrates on the 25th of December.