Hanukkah is Here, Celebrating Eight Grateful Nights With A Craft

We have officially reached the holiday season. Bring on all of the festivities, food, fun…and all the decorations! We are raising our daughter in a multi-cultural house, as I was raised Jewish and my husband was raised Catholic.

We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas and make sure both cultures, religions and holidays are represented.

Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah

Hanukkah lasts for eight days and this year, the holiday runs from the evening of Sunday, December 22nd until the evening of Monday, December 30th.

Hanukkah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with lighting a menorah (an eight-branched candelabra) nightly, special prayers and fried foods. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, after the Syrians destroyed all of the Jews properties and places of worship, and told them they could not practice their religion and beliefs.

It wasn’t until a small family-army (by the name of the Maccabees) stood up and drove the enemies from the land, that the Jewish People could reclaim their beliefs and religion, and begin to celebrate again.

The Miracle of Light

An even greater miracle than defeating the Syrian armies was the miracle of the oil. The Syrians had made all the oil impure. Miraculously, the Maccabees found one jar that had been overlooked. But it only had enough oil for one day. The oil was lit anyway, and another miracle took place! The oil burned for eight days!

The Hanukkah lights remind us of the great miracle that a small band of Jews defeated the mighty Syrian armies.

A Time for Giving

Hanukkah is also a time for giving, and receiving presents and gifts are often given on each night.

Lots of games are also played during the time of Hanukkah. The most popular is the dreidel.

A dreidel is a four-sided top with a Hebrew letter on each side. The four letters are the first letter of the phrase ‘Nes Gadol Hayah Sham’ which means ‘A great miracle happened there’ Each player puts a coin, nut or chocolate coin in a pot and the top is spun. Depending on how the dreidel lands, participants will either win the goodies or have to contribute more to the pot.

Eight Grateful Nights

This craft was designed as an interactive way to celebrate the Hanukkah holiday.  While the holiday season is a time to receive gifts, it’s also an important time to remember others and give back.

Serving as a beautiful decoration that can be hung up year-after-year, this craft is also an interactive project that encourages positivity, kindness, and good-will throughout all eight days of the Hanukkah Holiday.

This simple craft can be completed with kids of all ages. My daughter is 18 months and was able to participate.

The Budget Busting Craft Corner

While Northern Nevada’s availability of Hanukkah decorations has increased over the years (Target continues to have the best selection locally), there is still a huge void in items to help ring in The Festival of Lights. ENTER….The Budget Busting Craft Corner.

My goal is to provide fun, affordable, craft ideas with supplies purchased exclusively at Dollar Stores around Northern Nevada. 

NOTE WHEN SHOPPING: Each Dollar Store (especially Dollar Trees) seem to have different inventory. The Dollar Tree on Plumb Lane has the best selection of arts and craft supplies, from what I’ve noticed.

What You’ll Need (Supplies):

  •         Poster Board Paper x 2 sheets
  •         Paint  (Any colors can be used but we chose different shades of blue, yellow, and glitter)
  •         Paint Brushes (optional)
  •         Ribbon (You will need about 8-10ft worth)
  •         Craft Glue
  •         Glue Stick
  •         Scissors
  •         Marker/Pencil
  •         Dreidel Template (provided by Northern Nevada Moms)
  •         Eight Grateful Nights Template (provided by Northern Nevada Moms)

NOTE: We have included pre-printed “Grateful Ideas” as well as blank templates, so you can create your own ideas.

Ideal Age Group for this Craft:

Ages 2-9

HOW WE DID IT:

STEP 1 – Get Messy – Decorate ONE poster board with paint. Decorate, however, you and your Littles would like.  This turned into a finger-painting fest in our house, but you can use paintbrushes and create patterns. The goal is to cover all of the white with paint. NOTE: Abstract is good!  The poster board will be cut up.

STEP 2 – Dry Time – Before you complete the next steps, make sure the painted poster board is dry.

STEP 3 – Print – Use the “dry-time” to log onto northernevadamoms.com and print out the Dreidel Template as well as the Eight Grateful Nights Template. Cut templates out while you wait.

STEP 4 – Trace Me – Use a marker or pencil (I found a Sharpie worked best) to trace the Dreidel Template onto your poster boards.  You will want to trace EIGHT (8) dreidels onto your painted poster board, as well as an additional EIGHT (8) dreidels onto the white/plain poster board.

NOTE: You will most likely have leftover poster board.  Feel free to cut out extra dreidels for extra decorations, or use the painted poster board for another craft later.

STEP 5 – Cut ‘em Out – Cut out all of your poster board dreidels.  There will be 16 in total (8 painted dreidels, 8 white dreidels).

STEP 6 – Release the Ribbon – Open your spool of ribbon and layout vertically. I found it easiest to do this on the floor, as opposed to trying to make it fit on my kitchen table.

STEP 7 – Glue It Together – On either side of the ribbon, you will glue one (1) of the painted dreidels together with one (1) of the plain poster board dreidels. You’re making a dreidel sandwich! I found that craft glue (or Elmer’s White Glue) worked best for this part.

STEP 8 – Continue to Assemble – Continue to glue your dreidel to the ribbon, spacing evenly as you go.  You will end up with all eight (8) dreidels, hanging vertically on the ribbon

STEP 9 – Adding Your Gratitude – On the back of each of your hanging dreidel, add the “Eight Grateful Nights” activities. Glue to the white side of the dreidel, leaving the painted side untouched. I found glue-sticks worked best for this part.

o   NOTE: We have included pre-printed “Grateful Ideas” as well as blank templates, so you can create your own ideas.

STEP 10 – HANG & ENJOY – Hang up your Eight Grateful Nights project in a place where the whole family can see. Turn over a dreidel as you celebrate each night of Hanukkah and spread the holiday cheer by doing nice and thoughtful things for your family, community, and friends.

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Creating Traditions

Our Eight Grateful Nights project is hanging in our living room, next to our menorahs, dreidels, and other Christmas décor (because of #Christmukah).  I can’t wait to share holiday cheer with our loved ones, near and far.

I look forward to starting a new Hanukkah tradition of bringing out this interactive décor annually and teaching about the importance of gratitude during this season to our daughter.

Share with Us

We would love to see how your Eight Grateful Nights project turned out too! Please tag Northern Nevada Moms on Facebook or Instagram so we can see how you celebrated Hanukkah in your home.

Additional Reading

The eighth “Grateful Night” asks families to UNPLUG. This is a great opportunity to read Hanukkah stories together.  Below are eight recommendations of wonderful books that celebrate Hanukkah and other holiday traditions:

  1. The Story of Hanukkah

By David A. Adler, illustrated by Jill Weber

This book retells the story of Hanukkah for all-ages.  This is a great resource for teaching children about the holiday. Bright, colorful, easy to follow, and it even contains directions for playing dreidel and making latkes.

  1. Latke the Lucky Dog

By Ellen Fischer, Illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

About the Book: Latke is one lucky pup! A family adopts him from an animal shelter on the first night of Hanukkah — and names him after the golden potato pancakes that his scruffy fur resembles. Now it’s time for him to learn the rules of the house, as well as the traditions of the Festival of Lights.

  1. Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama

By Selina Alko

This is a must-read in our household where I was raised Jewish (celebrating Hanukkah) and my husband was raised Catholic (celebrating Christmas). This book offers a joyous embrace of both holidays that are bound to become a contemporary holiday classic. 

  1. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

By Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

This story is set in an Eastern European village whose inhabitants are prevented from celebrating Hanukkah by a band of goblins who hate the holiday. Enter Hershel, a weary traveler determined to drive out the goblins and celebrate Hanukkah with plenty of the latkes he loves. NOTE: This story has a spooky element and may not be best for your littlest Littles.

  1. Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein

By Amanda Peet & Andrea Troyer, Illustrated by Christine Davenier

About the Book: Rachel is desperate to get Santa to visit her home. She even writes a letter to him and decorates her home in anticipation of his arrival. Come Christmas Day, Rachel is, per usual, eating delicious Chinese food with her family. She is surprised to realize that there are so many other families who don’t celebrate Christmas at the Chinese restaurant. Rachel comes to understand her religious identity much better by the end of the story. Adults and children who have yearned for Santa Claus and a Christmas Tree will enjoy this story.

  1. Hanukkah Lights

By David Martin, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

About the Book: This charming picture book honors the traditions of Hanukkah, from the universal (dreidels and latkes) to the household variety (shadow puppetry!). Cozy and festive, this one might even inspire special rituals for your own family.

  1. Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah with Light, Latkes, and Dreidels

By Deborah Heiligman

This book is as much a present for parents as it is for kids. Readers of all ages will love the photographs of Jewish people around the world, from Ghana to India to Israel, celebrating Hanukkah — a powerful reminder of the diversity of the Jewish people.

  1. Hanukkah Bear

By Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

Bubba (Grandma) Brayna’s legendary latkes lure an unexpected visitor into her home in this playful Hanukkah tale from a master storyteller.

sarah rively

Sarah Bear Rively is a Reno resident for over 30 years and loves the uniqueness of Northern Nevada. Sarah and her husband are parents to a sassy, smart, considerate “three-anger". Sarah has spent the majority of her career helping Reno’s at-risk populations through non-profit and social service work.  She now proudly works for the Northern Nevada Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Sarah considers herself a fun-loving person who enjoys laughing, getting creative, helping the community, and spending time with family.  You can follow her in real life on Instagram and TikTok.