By Serena Norr
The holiday season  is finally here and for many of us that means shuffling through stores in search of the latest and greatest toy or gadget, but we all know that this is not the true meaning of the holidays. Part of that includes staying focused on what is really important – spending time with family and friends including enjoying traditional fare, customs and music and simply being together. Starting with Hanukkah (or Chanukah), Relocation.com has the best ways for you and your family to celebrate this eight-day holiday known as the Festival of Lights.
Make Hanukkah cards. Cards are a great way to pass along well wishes to friends and family  members and what better way to spread the message but by making a homemade card. Use old wrapping paper or images from old magazines or websites like Craft Creations , cut out the images and glue them on a piece of construction paper with a sealant like Mod Podge. Your children can also draw a picture on the front or you can glue on a family picture. Write your holiday greeting inside the card and include a small wallet-size picture of your family.
Make food together. Food is one of the central elements of Hanukkah and getting children involved is a great way to teach them about its preparation and traditional significance. Kids can help shred potatoes and onions for the latkes or prepare batter for jelly donuts. They can also help cut out cookie shapes or dress them with blue and white sprinkles. Other food items that they can help with: applesauce, cutting up carrots for pot roast or matzo ball soup or opening packages of noodles for noodle kugel.
Listen to music together. Play Hanukkah music at home throughout the eight days. Some traditional favorites include “Chanukah: Festival of Lights,” ” Spirit of the Holidays, O’ Hanukkah” or a modern classic like Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song.”
Arts and crafts. Aside from making Hanukkah holiday cards, children can create their own candles or menorahs. Candles are made from beeswax and menorahs can be made out of sculpting clay, which most craft stores have. Kids can decorate  their menorahs using paint or markers to create their own personal and unique symbol of the holiday. You can also create a Hanukah scrapbook or collage using images that relate to the holiday and pictures of your family.
Read books. Books that discuss the theme of Hanukkah are great to enjoy over the holiday as well as teach lessons in a fun way. “Light the Lights,” “Latkes and Applesauce,” “Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book,” and “The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes” are great book younger children. Older children might like “Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukkah Story” or “No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein.”
Consider a video. Kids also love videos and they can be an entertaining way to teach them about the values and principals of this holiday. Check out “A Rugrats Chanukah,” Chanuka at Bubbe’s” or “A Taste of Chanukah.”
Light the lights. Of course one of the well-know traditions of the holiday involves lighting of the menorah. Gather the whole family together and reveal in the beauty of the menorah, and perhaps your homemade creations. Traditionally, the menorah is placed in a front window in order to share the light with neighbors.
Play games. Games like dreidel, a spinning top, are traditional favorites during Hanukkah. The Player use candies or chocolate coins called gelt to play the game. When a player spins the dreidel, he or she will either take some treats from the pot, or put some into the pot.
Share gifts. Another part of the holiday includes eight days of gifts. Exchange gifts together and enjoy the act of giving to the people that matter the most to you.
Remember, holidays and traditions are best when they can be shared with others. Have a Happy Hanukkah!