You can still embrace the festival of lights, with a few little changes to your traditions.

By Lisa Milbrand
October 21, 2020
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Hanukkah 2020 runs from December 10 through December 18, which means it’s almost time to start thinking about how you’ll celebrate those eight nights. With a little creativity there’s plenty of Hanukkah fun to be had without increasing your family’s risk of contracting coronavirus.

As you’re planning your Hanukkah celebration, keep in mind that the CDC recommends hosting any get-togethers with people outside your household virtually to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Outdoor celebrations are considered a moderate risk, and indoor celebrations put you at high risk—as does traveling long distances to get together with friends and family. (Sorry!)

But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun this holiday season. You just need to embrace what’s different about Hanukkah this year and add a little more creativity to the mix—here’s how.

1

If you still plan to get together with loved ones, keep the Hanukkah gatherings outdoors and brief. Rather than rotate in a different group of friends and loved ones each night, it’s better to stick with the same crew throughout the holiday. (Of course, if you’re going all-virtual with your holidays this year, the more, the merrier!)

2

Opt for gifts that’ll help make your time at home this winter more cozy and comfortable—fuzzy socks, a warm blanket, a good book, a fun game to play, or a clever mug.

3

Even if you aren’t able to get together this year, you can still enjoy the same treats and Hanukkah recipes together. Drop over to share a sweet treat, like rugelach, sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), or a little gelt to make their Hanukkah celebration a little brighter.

4

Wardrobes have gotten a lot more casual in quarantine, so go ahead and break out the PJs every night. (This T-shirt may be the perfect gift to kick off this year’s celebration on the first night.)

5

If you’re planning an outdoor Hanukkah celebration, you’ll need a menorah that won’t blow out in a gust of wind. Look for modern LED versions that will help keep the “flames” lit throughout the celebration.

6

You’ll probably still want to serve all the classic Hanukkah dishes like latkes, brisket, kugel, and matzo ball soup (a great way to help keep off the chill when you’re gathering outdoors!). But go ahead and create a theme for each night—whether you do breakfast-for-dinner for one night (with PJ gifts and challah French toast on the menu) or an all-sweets day, with a sweet noodle kugel and melted-gelt hot chocolate to enjoy.

7

The pandemic has been so hard on everyone this year, so give yourself room to simply enjoy the season. Look for little shortcuts (like our super-fast rugelach or our trick for speedy-yet-delicious latkes) that make it easier for you to relax and spend time with the people you love—whether they’re across the table or across the country from you.