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Our Family Hanukkah Traditions!

December 19, 2019 in I Adore Mom Life, I Adore What I Love
OUR FAMILY HANUKKAH TRADITIONS :: I Adore What I Love Blog :: #iadorewhatilove

So this week, a few friends and I have come together to share all about our family holiday traditions! Not only has it been so fun hearing about what other people do with their families during this time of year, but it’s also been enlightening! With young kids in tow, I’m shopping around for more and more ideas every year to build awesome holiday traditions for years to come. In our case, we celebrate Hanukkah, but I really believe as moms we could all learn from each other no matter what we celebrate!

With that, I’m sharing what my family currently does during the holiday season in hopes that you’ll either use these ideas with your own family or take inspiration from them! And please let me know if you do, because my day will be absolutely made!!

So first things first: Hanukkah falls at a different time each year according to the Jewish calendar. But, it’s always 8 nights and my family always lights the menorah + sings the prayers + “celebrates” each night together as a family. This year is fun because it’s falls over Christmas! And personally, I just like that for most of December we can talk about it and look forward to it!

{this pic is from last Hanukkah, awwww}

But real talk: while I do love love love the holidays, I’m definitely not that mom who goes all out. Meaning, there are always a few things that I’ve never done but tell myself I’ll tackle next year…

  1. Decorating my home. I kinda sorta decorate but let’s be honest, not really. Is putting a few Hanukkah signs up from the Target dollar spot considered decorating? I say yes, some would beg to differ.
  2. Mailing out a holiday card… I mean, we haven’t taken family pics in two years {which, ahhh} so what photo would we use??
  3. Inviting my girlfriends over for a gingerbread house making party. I’ve literally always wanted to do this, on a weeknight, once the kids are sleeping! But do I ever actually get my act together to pull it off? Nope. Thinking this could maybe be something I still aim to do in January? I’ll let you know if it actually happens!

Despite not being able to make time for these things during the holidays {one day, right?}, I’m still always looking for new holiday ideas and to start new holiday traditions with my fam! Because aiming high is how I roll!!!!!

image via

Ok, so now let’s talk about the things that we do do!! Because that’s why you’re really here right??

There are three fun holiday things we do during the whole month of December…

  1. We have the Mensch on a Bench, which is basically the Jewish version of Elf on the Shelf. It’s a new tradition for us as of this year but one that I know will STICK! There’s a book that goes with it which I imagine we’ll read every year on December 1 – or the night we take him out of our old Hanukkah storage bin! Brody named our mensch Ezra Daveed {insert laughing emoji here!!} and he moves around the house only at night. He literally comes alive!!! And goes to a different spot while we’re sleeping!! Ok ok, in all reality, this mama moves him and let me tell you, it’s a semi-pain in the butt to simply REMEMBER to move him and then to come up with a good spot for him to stay put, but it’s worth it!!!! Why?? Because it’s so flipping adorable and cute seeing the kids wake up and want to go look for him the first thing in the morning!! And during the day they treat him like another brother!! He has literally become apart of our family now!! I say that half joking hahaha.
  2. We read Hanukkah books every night before bed! Obviously you can do this no matter what you celebrate!
  3. We eat lots of Latkes!! I get the Cauliflower Pancakes from Trader Joes because they’re gluten free and yours truly has a gluten allergy! THEY ARE SO GOOD AND TASTE LIKE THE REAL THING!!!!!!!

Then, there are a few things we do for Hanukkah once a year during the holiday season!

  1. We have a Hanukkah party with my whole extended family that my aunt always hosts.
    • Every year the adults in my family, and there are a lot of us, do gifts a little differently. This year we each got a specific secret person that we bought a $25 gift card for + a $5 actual mini gift. One at a time, we gave a clue to the group about who we bought the gift for and took guesses. Once that person opened his/her gifts, then he/she gave the next clue. It was fun and gift cards are always a good idea!!!
  2. One thing we did this year was attend a friend Hanukkah party thrown by my brother and sister-in-law for you guessed it: FRIENDS!
  3. After dinner one night, we have the kids get in their jammies, hop in the car, grab some peppermint hot chocolate {served *WARM* – it’s always key to ask for that when it’s for the kids!} from the drive-thru Starbucks, and go see the well-decorated and well lit houses in our area in the car. The kids LOVE this and they feel like they’re staying out so late because it’s so dark!! I intend on writing a post soon about where you can go if you’re local to see the holiday houses!! Make sure you’re following me on Instagram so you don’t miss it!!
  4. This year, we went on the Polar Express Train for the first time! It was so fun! The boys met Santa and Mrs. Claus, the train conductor read The Polar Express book, they served hot chocolate and cookies prior to getting on, and there were carolers singing too! I’m hoping we do this for years and years to come!
  5. As I mentioned prior, during each of the 8 nights of Hanukkah, my immediate family always lights the menorah and sings the prayers together as a family. We also almost always take a family pic in front of the menorah on the first night and typically I post it on my ‘gram too – obvyyyyy. Haha!
  6. This year we’ll be in Florida the entire week of Hanukkah so we’re honestly NOT doing gifts. I don’t feel so bad because our trip to Florida IS the gift!!!!!!! Can I get an amen?? Hahhaha but seriously, who else agrees with me on that one?? Also, my sons 5th bday is December 29th {omg so old!!!} and he will get PLENTY of gifts then! But typically, I do a different type of gift each night!!! For example, one night I buy them something they NEED, another night I buy them something to EAT, and every night is different. I explain much more about it in THIS blog post – which just so happens to be one of my most popular re-pinned posts on Pinterest!!

There you have it! I basically just listed out most everything we do as a family when it comes to our Hanukkah traditions. Now, I’d love for you to tell me your holiday season traditions in the comments, no matter what you celebrate!!!

Be sure to go watch my friend Whitney talk about her Christmas & Hanukkah traditions {she celebrates both!!}, my friend Nicki talk about her Christmas traditions in the funniest way ever, explaining her expectations vs. reality during the holiday season, and my friend Christine, who is so real and realistic about what her family does for the holidays, chat about her Christmas traditions! All three of them made amazing IGTV videos about this topic and they are so great to watch!

Please share this post with your friends using the pink email icon below and PIN it, too! Also, I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram for more good stuff + all the mom tips! 

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My Name is Dana Ivy.

Hey hey! I’m a MOM of three, here to share and I’m so happy you found me!! As a Chicago lifer {currently settled in the North Shore ‘burbs}, self-admitted shopping addict, and foodie, at the core I’m really just a mom {and a wife, gotta give a shout-out to my hubby!} just trying to balance it all! My 3 kids are my whole entire world and while being their mom is the BEST thing ever, it ain’t always easy! I created this space for all the moms out there who are just trying to get by... WE are all in this together! Read More.

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