Chanukah has become a holiday during which families exchange Chanukah gifts. Some families give presents on each night, which can become costly, especially for families with more than one child. Add to that Chanukah gifts for nieces, nephews, grandchildren, cousins and friends, and one can begin to wonder where the money is going to come from.
Having a Chanukah celebration without the presents is actually easier on the wallet. Even a traditional meal is inexpensive to prepare. A bag of potatoes, a jar of applesauce, sour cream, eggs, flour, salt and oil are the ingredients in potato latkes, a must-have for a dinner. Tuna salad is a great accompaniment to potato latkes, and doughnuts for dessert add a traditional sweet ending. None of these preparations require your raiding an extra savings account.
Dreidels are also inexpensive, and a box of chocolate Chanukah gelt is about $5.00. Use dried beans for markers, or small chocolate pieces, and the games are ready to begin. Candles for the menorah are the only other must haves for a party.
Many families give a big Chanukah gift on the first and last night of the holiday, and they devote the other nights to small, or necessity, gifts. Underwear, socks, art supplies, inexpensive toys, books and a package of stickers are all easy, less pricey selections for the many in-between nights.
You can also dedicate each night to a family activity instead of presents. Family time is important, and spending time with each other can help bring you closer and build strong relationships between parents and children. Here are eight ideas for family night activities that won't break the bank:
Even with family nights planned, some gift buying will still be involved. Here are some tips for planning instead of stretching the limits on the credit cards at the end of the year:
With the right planning, and a little creativity, Chanukah can be affordable, meaningful and filled with fun memories for the entire family that last until next Chanukah rolls around.
Along with the most commonly celebrated holidays of Christmas and Chanukah, parents and older family members might find themselves besieged with questions from kids about the story of Chanukah and Christmas. Here's a quick guide to fielding those questions.
After several years working with international students and living in a city that has such a wealthy of diversity, not only do I get to participate in all the exciting events and opportunities for Christmas but I also get to witness first hand some other holidays as well as how other cultures may celebrate Christmas.