8 Tips for 8 Nights of Chanukah!

29 Nov



Is there anyone who does NOT love Chanukah? It really is an awesome holiday – for so many reasons and not just for the yummy treats or gifts! There is definitely something special and very tangible on the the days of Chanukah and one just needs to relish in the joy and goodness….

To help us get through Chanukah, I have compiled a list of 8 Healthy Tips for the 8 Nights of Chanukah, to keep the Health while we share in the festivities. Of course, if you have more to add – by all means – please do!

1. Latkes CAN be healthy!

Generally, when we think of Chanukah, Latkes will make it in the top 3 things.  However most of us equate latkes with oil, grease, clogged arteries, and weight inducing carb snacks. I am here to tell you that Latkes CAN be healthy! Instead of using white potatoes, why not have fun with sweet potato latkes? Or carrot? Or zucchini? A neighbor of mine once recommended that I try celery root instead of potatoes. She said that the consistency of the celery root is very similar to that of potatoes and has a good taste. (I’ve never tried it, if you have, let me know how your opinion!) As for oil – when I was single my motto was “the more oil, the better the latke” while that has some truth to it, you can have the same delicious tasting latke WITHOUT the gallons of oil.

2. Creating HEALTHY traditional foods: Oil & Dairy:

One of my very first and very long posts on The 5 Pillars was a post about TOO MUCH food. I observed that each holiday comes with customary foods, but yet we somehow we have created the most unhealthy foods possible! Are you telling me that our ONLY option for eating a food with “oil” is a donut?! How about using oil on a salad? That’s blasphemous Smile … and for dairy – we have come up with danishes and cheesy fettuccini. I really think it’s time for a wake- up call and realize that we can STILL enjoy tradition and health at the same time. All medical people will tell you that Olive oil is so healthy and good for you – and dairy has so many nutrients and is very beneficial. But why combine it with white flour and sugar? I invite you to challenge yourself a bit this holiday and create healthier traditional foods!

3. The kids do NOT need 8 gifts.

I have found in the past few years more and more parents giving their children a new gift for EVERY night of Chanukah. While I am a huge fan of all things gift related – I feel this is really an idea that needs careful consideration. (if you are a mom who does give their child a gift each night – this one is for YOU!) Let’s think about it for a moment. Sure, it seems like such a wonderful tradition and I’ve witnessed it myself. You light the menorah with the family, sing the Chanukah songs, and then comes the presents! It really completes the evening and it makes the whole holiday more fun. Yes, I will agree with you on that. Now, let’s understand why this is a terrible habit for a parent (or anyone) to get into.

a. Fact: by the time night number 4 comes, the child has already forgotten about gifts 1,2, and 3 because the most exciting gift is the one he’s about to open

b. The child will be unable to appreciate the gift itself because he has so many. An example of this – and I saw this with my own eyes – I once saw a woman give her nephew who was about 10 years old one of the Harry Potter books on Chanukah. He looked at it and said “oh, I don’t like this book…” he literally threw the book aside and went to open his next gift. I was SHOCKED. Granted, he might not have liked it, but his open lack of appreciation and excitement for the present, and his immediate turning to “what’s next” was mind boggling!

c. Next problem: TOO MUCH STUFF! Does a child really need SO many new toys? He will get bored of all of them too soon….does a little kid really need 8 new toys in one week? If you say yes, that means you have taught your child that its quantity and not quality.

d. The 8 gifts for each night will become a standard and a very unhealthy expectation that your kids will have each year.

e. Since when is Chanukah about presents? Ok, let’s be honest – we all know that through the years, giving gelt also turned into giving gifts – and I’m totally ok with that (hey – I just gave my dad MY Chanukah wish list!) but, in reality overwhelming the children with gifts cheapens the holiday as the focus becomes the toys and not the Yom tov itself.

f. This is a HUGE pressure on parents (aka – mom) to shop and wrap ALL the gifts! Doesn’t she have enough to do?!

So I say – if you’re a huge fan of giving Chanukah gifts – limit it to one or two…. Maybe at the beginning of the Chag and at the end …or something like that. But definitely not 8.

4. Party Pooping.

Here’s a great tip: not every night needs a party. I have realized that I can’t do the 8 nights of partying thing. I used to love having my calendar FILLED with parties and events. The Shul party, the family party, the in laws family party, the neighbors who consider us family party, the other neighbors who always invite us party, the town menorah lighting, (ok that’s already 6 parties AND I haven’t included a special Chanukah Shabbos !)

I remember about a year or two ago, I mentioned to my friend that as much as I loved getting dressed up and celebrating, these parties were getting a little tiring! I recall my friend telling me that she never gets invited anywhere, doesn’t have any parties to go to – so I shouldn’t complain about having so many invites…. Well, that Shut me up! Smile But the truth is, that it became too much! I was finding that after the first few nights – it was TOO Much. I needed a break! So I’ve realized to just say no… I won’t even put it on my calendar lest I feel pressured to go, or feel bad about cancelling because I have learned that it’s just too much partying (and too much of the same latkes, donuts and lasagna food!)

5. Avoid the malls:

Even for me as a budding minimalist, this one is a bit difficult; but if you want to stay in the spirit of the holiday and not get swept up in the commercialized holiday feeling, your best bet is to STAY away from the malls. If you need to buy gifts – decide ahead of time what to buy or decide to go to a specific store and that’s it. Roaming the malls is asking for trouble!

I was recently talking to one of my sisters in law and she was telling me how she LOVES going to the malls this time of year because of the massive sales and she stocks up on random stuff. While I love me a good sale (not really) – this is a very scary and slippery slope – before you realize it, you may have over-purchased things you don’t really need and you only bought it because it was on sale. (of course, if there’s something you need – BUY all means – BUY it Smile) I’m just saying – be careful.

6. Miracles! Miracles!

My dad said the other day – Chanukah is a time for miracles. (actually , I think everyone says this J) It’s a good time to acknowledge the miracles in our life. This might be hard if you haven’t really felt any huge miracles – so an easier thing would be to acknowledge through gratitude. After the Menorah is lit, haneiros halalu/ma os tzur has been sung, and the kids are finished with the dreidel game, take a moment to sit by the menorah – with a pen and a notebook and jot down what beautiful things G-d has given in your life – and allow the warmth of the menorah lights wash the gratitude and contentment over you. Try it – you might like it! If you want to take this exercise a step further – in the spirit of Chanukah begin a Gratitude Journal. Each night jot down 10 things you were grateful for that day. I say 10 things because its not that much, but its not that small either. If you feel challenged finding 10 things to be grateful about your day – then this exercise will be great for you!

7. Spread a little light in the world –

Now that you’ve brought the warmth and beauty of the lights into your heart and being, time to spread the light to the rest of the world! My hubby used to tell me that working in an office building every day – it was hard to feel the different times of year, the different seasons and the whole year becomes very routine. Chanukah is the PERFECT time to bring the holiday spirit into the everyday – because Chanukah is NOT a day of Yom Tov and Kiddush meals. It’s a day where most of us still have to go to work –unless you’re a rabbi or something. So bring the joy of Chanukah to your co-workers … or the people you interact with… maybe this means bringing in a special treat for everyone. Or creating a Secret Santa (we call it Mystery Maccabee in our family) Share the light baby!

8. The truth is I only came up with 7 tips

But how can I have 7 tips for 8 nights of Chanukah? Soooo I challenge YOU my readers – to come up with the 8th tip for a Healthy Chanukah!!!!!!!!

Wishing you all a delicious, AND nutritious Chanukah – filled with warmth, joy, happiness, and may the lights of the Menorah permeate the harsh darkness and uplift us all…..

You get the point Smile

Happy Chanukah!!!!!!!!!!!!!


PS – a small reminder that you  can still enter our Chanukah Giveaway! A winner will be announced on the 1st Day of Chanukah – Thursday December 2nd!!!!!!


Posted by on November 29, 2010 in Physical Health, Spiritual Health


16 responses to “8 Tips for 8 Nights of Chanukah!

  1. Marci

    November 29, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Not to be the poster child for conspicuous consumerism, but my Mom used to buy us useful and functional gifts as well as fun gifts. One of my favorites was one of the ‘lesser” gifts, a coffee can painted pink and converted into a lamp. As an adult, I can still recall many of the gifts I’ve gotten for Channukah and while some of them or lost (or have died in the intervening years, like for instance, the garbage can) some of them I still have, like the microwave my parents bought me during my junior year of college. (although in fairness, I don’t think I got 8 nights of gifts during Channukah during the college years.)

    8. Enjoy the lights
    As your mother told me last night it’s a minhag to not work while the lights are burnings. We can take that time to relax, recharge, and if we’re with friends or family, appreciate them and their value in our lives.

  2. mrsduby

    November 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    Hey Marci!
    Thanks for the comment! I love the idea of including functional / educational gifts (i include story books in that category) and i LOOOVE the coffee can lamp idea!!! It reminded me of the “Pound Purry” cat doll thingy that i got when i was a kid — i STILL have it — and remember that Chanukah very well when i got it!!!

    As for your 8th tip — YES !!! there is the custom not to work while the lights are lit (although i dont fully understand how practical that is , since most women i know are frying latkes at that time or serving supper — so go figure) — but yes, thats a great time to enjoy the lights, relax, recharge and as for me – i like playing the chanukah songs on my guitar 🙂

    Thanks for reading Marci,
    duby 🙂

  3. Shmully

    November 30, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I think it is important to instill in kids and to focus as adults to have memories created on Chanukah. Not to sound cheesy, but it is extremely easy to gloss over Chanukah, even though it is 8 days, because of the mundane day time activities. In my agreeing with the sentiment above, having a tradition that is based around Chanukah can go along way into creating special Chanukah memories that will ensure that it is treasured for more than just food and gifts.

    • mrsduby

      December 1, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      thanks so much for your comment (may it continue in the future)
      i love your idea of incorporating special family Chanukah traditions …. would love to hear if you had specific ideas.

      have a wonderful Chanukah!
      your wife. (hehe)

  4. Avrumie

    November 30, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I just wanted to put my two cents in on this post:
    Regarding 1-2 i am in full agreement not to say that i will follow it but its a good idea
    3. As the above posted not all gifts have to be flashy huge toys my wife had told me that when she was a youngen, her parents got her one or two larger gifts and the other nights she received socks, sweaters, etc which i think instill in children that a gift by definition can be something functional not just something to play with (although a blow up doll may prove both)
    4. i am like that other person that advised you that i do not get invited to parties and the only ones i even think of going to is either really close friends or family which i feel obligated to go to otherwise the people can suck it (this may explain why i do not get invited)
    5. As a rule i avoid the mall all year long because you always (not as a rule but just seems to happen) purchase items you do not want and/or need because they are on sale ( i got four pairs of shoes because it was buy one get one free so it was such a great deal. Better deal don’t buy anything)
    6. this to me sounds much more like thanksgiving than Chanukah and i will leave it at that
    7. I spread a little light every time i enter a room ( and by light i mean the fires of hell) J/K my light is the three women in my life which i am happy to come home to every night
    8. I got nothing for this number.

    Hope you enjoyed my rant stay tuned for others I’m sure on other posts


    • mrsduby

      December 1, 2010 at 10:22 pm

      Hey Avrumie,
      ok here goes:
      1. happy you like numbers 1 & 2 (although at this point i dont remember which ones they are 🙂
      3. I LOVE the idea of giving “functional” gifts and showing that things we need can be considered gift ideas as well. However, im still not sold on the idea of gifts every night. (even functional “socks” “pajamas” ideas) although, i will definitely think it over and take it under advisement (aka – ask Shmully on his opinion, then see if i like what he says and then figure it out on my own 🙂
      4. yes – im finding many friends on Facebook wishing they had MORE parties to go — hence – i should stop complaining 🙂
      5. congrats on the 4 pairs of shoes. Do they all look the same? hope not.
      6. Cant remember which one this was – but i’ll assume it was one of the fuzzy, mushy ideas. Therefore i’ll stick with it and keep it. haha
      7. Three woman have to share your love …. frightening !
      8. you got nothing for this number …and neither do i. We make a good pair i suppose.

      Thanks for keeping me on my toes… (or whatever)
      Happy Chanukah!
      Duby 🙂

      ps – as for blow up dolls – well they’re just a necessity!!!!

  5. Chanie

    November 30, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Love 1-2..I will try making sweet potato latkes t his year. we’ll see how that goes. Also, I saw a recipe for baked doughnuts which’ll definitely be a lot healthier.

    Nice post, Duby!

    • mrsduby

      December 1, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      hey Chan,
      Sweet potatoes are awesome! And so are carrots — although i cant remember from last year which ones i found were a bit “too sweet.” Another good idea is to combine the white potato with other veggies such as the sweet potato, or zucchini …

      I recently heard that frying in oil is not such a good idea (even healthy oil) – but more research needs to be done before i start spurting 🙂 🙂

      Let me know how your baked donuts came out!!!!!!

      Happy Chanukah!
      duby 🙂

      • Chanie P.

        December 2, 2010 at 2:43 am

        Guess what? I baked the sweet potato latkes and they were realllly good! Obviously not like fried in oil latkes, but really tasty nonetheless. I’ll try the baked donuts next week.

  6. mendy litvin

    December 1, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    really good point except the kids dont get 8 presents

    • mrsduby

      December 1, 2010 at 3:31 pm

      good ! then they’re on the right track already 🙂

  7. Pingback: Chanukah
  8. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun

    December 2, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    All of those tips are so true. Especially the gifts ones. I may not celebrate this particular holiday, but still can appreciate everything you talked about.

    • mrsduby

      December 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

      Hi Tina,
      Thanks for reading!!!

      Have a wonderful Holiday season,
      duby 🙂


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