On the First Night of Hanukkah

Dear Kayli, Chloe, and Brody,

On the first night of Hanukkah, you hosted us.

You came home from school absolutely bursting to celebrate, and I was right there with you.

The fire burned, the latkes crisped, and Daddy and I- breathed you in.

Latkes with Apple Sauce and Sour Cream, Brownies, And Shirley Temples. Obviously.

We called tonight “Kid Hosted Hanukkah.” You passed out the presents that you made and chose, and you picked the food.

The three of you agreed on latkes, brownies, and Shirley Temples. And can I just say, it was absolutely perfect.

Brody, this was the first year that you took part in everything from shopping to candle lighting.

And Girls, you lit the candles all by yourselves this year, and knew every word of the prayers by heart.

I loved cooking and shopping with you.

And I really loved watching you open, and squeal over, each other’s gifts.

Thank you so very much for tonight. Kid Hosted Hanukkah, was fabulous!




I have to admit that we’ve adopted the One-Gift-A-Night tradition for Hanukkah, but we do it with a twist.

We pick gifts connected to Family Time, and that’s what the night ends up being about. Once the present is opened, the Family Time activity starts.

Kid Hosted Hanukkah was the first night, here’s what the rest of the nights look like for this year.

2. Girl Time/ Man Time– I took the girls to get their nails done while Jason and Brody went out for “Man Time,” which meant going to the balloon store for my balloon obsessed little guy.

 3. Art Night– Paints, markers, and paper for crafting it up before bedtime.

4. Pajama Night- Cozy jammies and fuzzy socks worn for a sleepover in our room.

5. Ice Cream Night– Pints of favorite ice cream for an ice cream sundae making party.

6. Rainbow NightRainbow ice cubes, rainbow pancakes for dinner, and tie dying.

7. Movie Night– A movie and fun popcorn for a movie night.

And 8. Through the magic of Facebook, these other “Experience Gift” ideas came about- Movie or theatre tickets, zoo, museum, and state park memberships, water parks, hotel sleepovers, classes such as ice skating or gymnastics, game nights, and my personal favorite – registering for a Family Star. So very swoon-worthy, right?


A group of sixteen bloggers, led by the fabulous Renee A. Schuls-Jacobson, are blogging the eight nights of Hanukkah, Please check out the other Hoopla posts here.

I would like to thank Streit’s and Doni Zasloff Thomas a.k.a. Mama Doni, the lead singer-songwriter of The Mama Doni Band for providing each of the sixteen of us with cyber-swag. Their cross-promotional alliance is designed to celebrate Jewish culture with the young generation, a mission of both Mama Doni and Streit’s. 

To win a ‘lil swag, leave me a comment letting me know that you’re interested. A winner will be randomly selected on January 5th.

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  1. What a wonderful Hanukkah, Galit! Love the idea of kid-hosted night.

    Have a fabulous holiday. xo

  2. I love kid-hosted night. I am so glad that you posted the blessings! I was hoping someone would do that! And I can hear your accent loud and proud when you sing.

    Thank you for being part of the #Hoopla.

  3. How do your latkes look so perfect?! I love your night time alternatives, they got me inspired. Tomorrow night I am going to ask my kids what charity they want to donate to and offer $10 per child to send to the charity of their choice. We’ll see how it goes. After 7 nights of gifts, I think it’s time to teach them to give back.

    • Oh, I absolutely adore that idea! it’s perfection!

      And as for my latkes, they’re *all* Jason. His cooking is the real miracle of Hanukkah!

      Thank you for the words! :)

  4. What fun! I might borrow some of your ideas. Even at 15 and 18, I think my children would enjoy hosting and having a family theme. I love your (and your children’s) spirit! Happy Hanukkah!

  5. Very sweet indeed! I like the themed nights idea. Clever and creative!

  6. I love kid hosted night!! What a great way to kick off Hanukkah and to let the kids soak in the flavors, the feeling, the emotions. Spectacular as always my friend!

  7. Happy Hanukkah! Your kids look so sweet lighting the candles. I absolutely love your themes, too, and the way they must draw your family closer together.

  8. What a wonderful way to celebrate Hanukkah! I really like your first night kid night idea. Will have to do that one next year. Happy 6th Night!

  9. I like kid hosted Chanukah. It looks like it was a lot of fun, so sweet.

  10. Beautiful, Galit!

    You’re so good. I’d havenixed the Shirley Temples or I’d never have gotten my kids to bed! LOL
    The sleepover night sounds fun–must do this when baby gets older.

  11. What a lovely way to celebrate Hanukkah! I love how your love for your kids shines through.

  12. Ah…”if only”

    These are the things that I call “if only” things or ideas. As in, if only we weren’t a family touched by autism, we could do these cool things too. If only our every moment has the power of being destroyed by autism’s heartless rage. If only we could plan such wonderful, meaningful celebrations without fear that autism would smash them until we devolve into a house filled with screams, outbursts, and, finally, exhausted tears.

    If only…

  13. Dear Galit and family, Happy Hanukkah! What a great tradition your family is having!

  14. I love how you’ve made the gifts into family time! Very sweet idea :)

  15. LOVE the evening themes. Also now I’m hungry for latkes. Happy Holidays dear friend. xo

  16. I love that each night has a theme! What fun you had at your house!

  17. What beautiful traditions you have created with your family! You must have been so proud watching your kids “host” Hanukkah, especially since they know all the words to the prayers. Truly lovely!

  18. How very wonderful … you take my breath away always xxx

    did i ever tell you that i attended a Jewish High School – hence i can swear at my husband in yiddish 😉
    and btw,
    My youngest asked me earlier if we were going to celebrate Kwanzaa this year Oy Vey, what is a shiksa to do with all these holidays 😉

  19. So, um, next year I pretty much want to copy your themed nights! I know for sure we will be doing a Kid Hosted Hanukkah night of our very own

    My Mom is big into experience gifts and I always feel that I drop the ball/lack creative ideas. Thanks for getting my creative juices flowing!

  20. This is perfect. What a great way to stay focused on what this season is really about: Family. I adore you.

  21. I don’t think I’ve EVER read one of your posts and NOT wanted to be in your family immediately afterwards. Love it!!!!

  22. Sounds like you all had a beautiful family plan in place. Hope it was magical!

  23. It sounds like you guys managed the perfect Hanukkah :-)

    I love the themed nights – I just need to figure out how to convince my kid that he’s obsessed with baseball & breweries to turn “man nights” into something great for me :-)

  24. What a great spin on the holiday! I love that you celebrated everything as a family!

  25. Oh, I just love your themes!

  26. Beautiful! Happy Chanukah to you. We are in the middle of a dreidl TOURNAMENT at our house, the 5 yo is crushing. I, however, am the champion spin-the-dreidl-on-its-stem spinner.

  27. Looks like you and your family had a wonderful Hanukkah. I love how you had a different theme each night. So fun!

  28. —And Daddy and I- breathed you in.—

    So Beautiful.

    Happy 2012. X

  29. I just love that you tied in the family theme to your gifts! :)

  30. The candles are so beautiful, and I think it’s wonderful how the holiday is stretched out and each day given it’s own significance.

  31. Your kids always seem to be the best of friends! I’m glad you had a great Hanukkah!

  32. Fun!

    We do themes, too. Ecept ours are tied to gifts. What a great idea to tie it into an activity, too!

    Looks like a good time was had by all.

  33. This is brilliant. What a wonderful twist on any holiday. Your heart amazes me. (And I am VERY upset by the lack of pajama night pictures … please post immediately 😉

    • I will post as soon as Louie has a matching set. Hampton Noodle is about to have some competition!

      {And thank you- truly. xo}

  34. I seriously need your latke secret.

    Ours keep coming out soggy.

    Yours make me want to lick the monitor.

    • {I won’t tell anyone if you lick the monitor.}

      Also? It’s all Jason. He’s a rock star latke maker. I know to resist the urge to smoosh them down because he’s constantly yelling, “Stop smooshing them!” – other than that, I’m hopeless.


  35. Galit! I love these ideas sooo much! Looks like you had an absolutely amazing Hanukkah. I love how involved you got the kids…I think rainbow night would’ve been my favorite!

  36. I love love love your Hanukkah celebration ideas! I’m LDS, but of Jewish heritage. I’ve always wanted to celebrate and now that I have kids, I want to teach them about their lineage. We didn’t get to celebrate this year because I couldn’t get organized quickly enough. But, next year and every year after we’re doing it. I love your themed nights that really promote family togetherness. My question is, why isn’t Christmas like this? It’s purely about presents these days, which I hate. If we celebrate both, I’m betting my kids will end up having fonder memories of Hanukkah than Christmas.

  37. What wonderful memories you are creating for your family. I love all of the ideas! Visiting from #iPPP

  38. One of the things that I miss most about living where I do is that nobody around here celebrates Hanukkah. I think that they are all missing out, especially when I see how you celebrate!

  39. It doesn’t surprise me a bit that you celebrate in such a perfectly wonderful way! I have GOT to try latkes sometime!

  40. Great Hanukkah idea! Very creative if I may add…


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