Hanukkah Guide for Chicagoland Families

Here are some ideas to celebrate the Festival of Lights.

Hanukkah, the eight-day Jewish Festival of Lights that commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple, kicks off at sundown on Dec. 7. 

If you’re looking for ways to kick your traditional festivities into high gear, our Hanukkah family guide includes fun crafts, recipes and even a few events and activity ideas.

Hanukkah Events

Check out some local Hanukkah happenings this year.

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins 

Dec. 3-23, 2023 (Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays)

In this adaptation of the award-winning book, a troupe of actors arrive to find no one celebrating Hanukkah so they put on a show. Advanced registration is required.

1st Night, 1st Light: Camp Chi Hanukkah Kickoff Party

Dec. 7, 2023

Light the candles, enjoy food, play arcade games and celebrate the first night of Hanukkah at this family-friendly event. Registration required.

4th Night, 4th Light at Gallagher Way

Dec. 10, 2023

Enjoy a Hanukkah celebration with live entertainment, a DJ, giveaways and a candle lighting. Also, explore Winterland and Christkindlmarket. Registration required. 

5th Night, 5th Light: Cookie Decorating with Apachi Evanston

Dec. 11, 2023

Take part in cookie decorating and a night of candle lighting at Bernard Horwich JCC in West Rogers Park. Registration required. 

Food

A traditional Hanukkah celebration wouldn’t be complete without brisket, latkes, kugel and more. While many families might have recipes handed down generation to generation, this year offers a great chance for families to mix up their Hanukkah menus a bit. Here are a few ideas for inspiration.

Hanukkah activities

Menorah lightings with your families and special prayers are a must for this holiday, but there’s lots of fun activities you can do beyond that, too. 

  • Hanukkah Crafts for Kids (Metro Parent): Gather a few simple supplies and you’re on your way to make a yarn-wrapped hurricane Chanukah centerpiece, an Altoids tin Menorah and more.
  • Hanukkah Books for Kids: Read a family story about Hanukkah with these eight children’s books, one for each night.
  • Eight Exciting Hanukkah Gifts for Kids: Along with the eight days of celebrating comes eight days of gifts, and if you’re stumped on what to get your kiddos this season, we suggest these eight festive gift ideas.

Happy Hanukkah!


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