Friday, December 12, 2014

8 Fun, Frugal Hanukkah Ideas

I don't get it,” said one of my son's friends. “How come I usually see a Hanukkah menorah at your house along with Christmas lights and Santa decorations on your lawn?” Gather around, my friends, and -

 Welcome To The Wonderful World of Interfaith Families!

You can celebrate Hanukkah without having to take out a second mortgage!

My husband is Jewish; I am not. We are raising our children Unitarian Universalist (or, as my husband calls it, the “I'm okay, you're okay religion” where children are encouraged to develop their own belief systems). We celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas, with Hanukkah being what we call, The Literary Holiday. The kids get books the first night we light the menorah and then they get additional presents for Christmas. 

For us, giving books keeps the cost of the holiday down and reminds the children of the value of education. Still, we're a one-income family and don't have a lot of money, so I've come up with these 

8 ideas for a fun, yet frugal Hanukkah:

  • First , resist the urge to succumb to the pressure of having Hanukkah compete with Christmas. According to my husband, this is a minor Jewish holiday, so keep it in perspective. Focus on the love and togetherness instead of how much money is spent. Start traditions like “A Night In Front Of The Menorah” where you read books to each other or listen to music while enjoying each others company.  In other words, give the technology a rest.

  •  Make a Family Collage to help kids remember loved ones who have passed. Purchase a large, inexpensive frame (Ikea has some great ones) and print out photos; add stickers, ribbon, etc. Tell stories of your loved ones as you make the collage. Or make a Memory Tree by writing the names of loved ones on card stock, punching a hole through the card, and adding a ribbon. Hang from any tall plant in the house.

  • Agree to make a small donation to a worthy cause in lieu of gifts - what a mitzvah!

  • Shop clearance, online sales, thrift stores, and at the local dollar store. Also look in Big Lots, Amazing Savings, and even drug stores.  A gift is whatever a person might want, not what retailers tell you to buy.    

    Hanukkah can be a frugal holiday!

  • Make a Coupon Book good for things like “taking out the garbage on an extra cold night,” "doing one load of laundry," or "getting up to feed the cat."  People appreciate someone else doing their less-than-favorite jobs.

  • Look for free, local Hanukkah celebrations in your neighborhood.  Even if you're not associated with a temple, these events are often open to the general public.  Check your local newspaper or JCC for details.   

  • Go to your local library and rent some Hanukkah-related movies.  My favorites include:  Lambchop's Chanukah And Passover Surprise, Chanukah On Planet Matzah Ball, and Eight Crazy Nights.

May your Hanukkah be filled with happiness and peace! 

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