Whatever holidays you celebrate in December, there are some common joys that can be shared among all. Here is a list of seven activities that are sure to get you in the holiday mood:
While there are many Christmas classics, some underrated Hanukkah ones include “Oh Hanukkah” by the Maccabeats, “Hava Nagila,” and of course, Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song.” Music streaming apps like Spotify and Apple Music often have ready-to-play holiday playlists made, or you can make your own!
Looking at holiday lights is always a must around December. Whether covered in small white lights or decked head to toe in color, decorated houses are always fun to drive by. Check out your local newspaper or do an internet search to find out about what’s near you. If you’re looking for more of a full-on spectacle, look for light shows, such as The Morton Arboretum Illumination show. These are fun for families and friends alike, and will be sure to brighten your holiday season!
The Holiday Season would not be complete without food! Whether it was the turkey on the Thanksgiving table or the Gelt on the table when you play Dreidel, food is an essential part of the holiday season. This year, try making some holiday classics at home, whether it be delicious sufganiyot (Jelly filled donuts) or classic potato latkes. If cooking isn't your style, try checking out your local Jewish deli for these treats! Or, if you’re only into decorating, opt for decorating a Gingerbread house. With so many types of candy and frosting, there are countless ways to customize these as your own. Retail for kits starts at $2.99 at Target, so there’s an option for every artist.
Following Thanksgiving, Holiday Season is in full swing, and that means all of the joy一and stress一that comes along with gift-giving. This year, try taking a less stressful route by going D.I.Y. and making some gifts yourself. Not only are they less expensive, but they’re also more thoughtful than store bought gifts. Check out Pinterest for easy, cost-effective ideas including sugar scrubs, cards, and sign decorations. If creativity isn’t your strong point, you can still find ways to make gifts thoughtful and cost effective by starting the gift search early and stocking up on coupons. As the saying goes, what really matters is the thought behind the gift.
This Holiday season, don’t forget about how lucky we are. Think about giving back to your community this December, either through a donation or volunteering. Organizations like The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism make it easy to think of alternate gift-giving ideas on Hanukkah, with program ideas for each night of Hanukkah. Another option is to make giving back more personal by choosing organizations that are important to your families and choosing one to donate to each night in place of or in addition to getting a gift. In terms of volunteering, check out your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter for volunteering hours, or set up a group party to volunteer at Feed My Starving Children. No matter which way you choose to get involved, you will feel better for helping spread the holiday cheers to others who need it this year.
Don’t be afraid to share your culture with your non-Jewish friends. Invite them over to light candles and play Dreidel, or make latkes and holiday cookies with them. By sharing a piece of your culture with your friends, they will likely feel closer to you and want to share a piece of theirs in return.
Family and Friends never fail to make the Holiday Season special. With December bringing Finals for many students, don’t forget to set aside some time to relax with those who matter most. Make spending time together easy by having an organized event, such as a secret-Santa gift giveaway or a holiday party where everyone can bring a fun activity or food that’s a tradition for their family. If your family is far away, you can write letters or even send a thoughtful text to let them know you’re thinking of them this holiday season.
Rachel is a BBG from Moreshet Ma'arav BBG and is Editor-in-Chief of her high school newspaper.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
Read all about what I learned from a project I did for the Global Leadership Academy.
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