It’s that time of year again! Hannukah 2016 begins begins Saturday, December 24 and ends Sunday, January 1. At the best of times it can be overwhelming celebrating holidays with babies and small children, even more so on years when Hannukah may feel overshadowed by Christmas and New Year’s running concurrently. With that in mind, I’d like to share how our family makes the most of Hannukah with little ones, here in Ottawa.
Hannukah has so much to offer for even the littlest among us. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more kid friendly holiday that a multi day festival of lights and donuts and gelt and fun.
For older babies and toddlers, consider making simple Hannukah crafts and projects. In our house, handprint Hannukiahs are a fan favourite.
It can often be difficult to find holiday materials in stores. It’s a bit like an annual treasure hunt, establishing which Ottawa shops carry Hannukah products. Superstore Woodroffe is a hidden gem for kosher foods and holiday shopping. Keep a close eye out in the kosher section for fun kid’s activities. We’re big fans of their “sew a dreidel” kit, for preschool aged children and up.
Surprisingly, outlets and shops like Winners can be amazing resources for Hannukah shopping. From wrapping paper, blue and white sprinkles and hannukah cookie cutters, to our all time favorite bib!
I cannot say enough about PJ Library Ottawa. If you have a child between the ages of 6 months and 6 years, register with PJ Library for an age appropriate Jewish story each month. The books arrive in the mail like clockwork, free of charge. This Hannukah we’re enjoying reading Mrs Greenberg’s Messy Hannukah. Check out PJ Library’s Facebook page for updates on Jewish children’s events in our community.
Hannukah always involves community, and togetherness. Whether you decide to celebrate with your congregation, with the family at Bubbe and Zaide’s house, or at a community event, your kids will love the party atmosphere. You may be interested in attending the Soloway JCC’s gift fair and family fun day. Check out Hannukah with ORH for a latke competition and loads of fun for kids. Teach your little ones about tzadakah by attending centertown citizen’s Hannukah party and refugee sponsorship fundraiser. For updates on more events as they come, follow the event lists at Jewish Federation of Ottawa and Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.
For older children, the OCDSB is very receptive to parent-led, in-class Hannukah fun. Don’t be afraid to ask your child’s teacher if they’d consider a Hannukah celebration. Last year, we spent time in the senior kindergarten classroom discussing the importance of giving, and building milk carton tzadakah boxes.
Do you have a favourite tip for celebrating with kids in the Capital? Share in the comments.