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The Eight Games of Hanukkah

Guest Author - Megan Romer

Game-playing has long been part of the Hanukkah tradition, most prominently in the famous Dreidel (or Dreydl) Game, where players spin a four-sided wooden top to win "gelt" (traditionally money, but most modern families use foil-wrapped chocolate coins). Why not make board games part of your Hanukkah tradition as well?

Here's how we do it: we always play the Dreidel game on the first night of Hanukkah, but for the other seven nights, we play a new board game. Everyone in the family does some research on new board games, and picks out 3 or 4 that they think everyone would like. All of these games are dropped into a hat, and Mom or Dad (or another designee) picks out 7 of these games at random. They are in charge of purchasing these games and wrapping them.

Each night, a game is selected from the wrapped pile and one of the children gets to open it. Then the family plays together - a perfect way to celebrate the holiday, which is traditionally about quiet and reflective familial celebration (as opposed to commercialism and over the top gift-giving). The presents make a lasting impact: the game closet in the house builds up, which provides extra encouragement for families to play more often.

Because we are a multifaith family, games are our only gift during Hanukkah. It's an economical way to allow the family to celebrate both winter holidays. However, this is a tradition that can be incorporated into many different styles of family celebration. Families who enjoy Hanukkah gift-giving can simply add this tradition to the celebration that they already have; families who don't have as much money can use it as a way to save money while expanding the fun of the presents.

In any case, the "Eight Games of Hanukkah" is a really great modern Hanukkah tradition that will bring your family much joy, or nachas. Gut Yontiff!

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Content copyright © 2014 by Megan Romer. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Megan Romer. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact BellaOnline Administration for details.

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