Warmth, Light, Donuts and Snow (Really!): Here Are the Best Ways to Celebrate Hanukkah

Warmth, Light, Donuts and Snow (Really!): Here Are the Best Ways to Celebrate Hanukkah

Photo via @hanukkahhouse on Instagram

SUNDAY IS THE first night of Hanukkah, and there are plenty of family-friendly events scheduled for the days leading up to the week-long, eight-evening “Festival of Lights,” all of which reflect the diversity and generosity of Houston’s Jewish community. Here are six we think will be especially awesome. Shalom, y'all!


Hanukkah House Drive Thru with PJ Library

Photo via @hanukkahhouse on Instagram

If you’ve never seen the famous Hanukkah House, there’s no better time to check it out than Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Hanukkah House Drive Thru. The free event is hosted by Camp Young Judaea, Greene Family Camp and PJ Library, a program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Houston, which provides Jewish-themed books and activities for children. Beginning at 5:30pm, registered guests are invited to drive by the house and enjoy its elaborate holiday lights and awesome Hanukkah yard decorations and partake in some milk and cookies. Throughout the evening, PJ Library will be collecting new toiletry items for Interfaith Ministries Refugee Services, so consider making a donation.

Holiday Story Time at Brazos Bookstore

Photo by Julie Soefer for Visit Houston

At 10:30am on Dec. 17, the day before Hanukkah and the traditional lighting of the menorah, parents and their children are invited to Holiday Story Time at Brazos Bookstore. The in-store reading includes The Eight Knights of Hanukkah, which tells the story eight young knights who are called upon to put a stop Dreadful, a cranky dragon bent of ruining Hanukkah, and Hanukkah Hamster, the tale of a lonely cab driver who unexpectedly finds and adopts a hamster left behind in his cab, just in time for his Hanukkah observance.

Menorah Lighting at City Hall

City Hall (photo by Lance Childers for Houston First)

On Sunday, Dec. 18, at 5:15pm, the City of Houston marks the first night and the first light of Hanukkah with the 27th Annual Menorah Lighting at Houston City Hall. The free event includes sufganiyot (oil-cooked jelly doughnuts, which along with latkes are a traditional Hanukkah treat), dreidels, Hanukkah gelt (chocolate coins), and other gifts for children.

Sensory-Sensitive Hannukah 

Sensory-sensitive events are designed for people living with diagnoses, disorders or disabilities that include increased sensitivity, such as a child with autism who might find the sound of an average-size holiday event overwhelming, and even frightening. With this population in mind, on Sunday, Dec. 18, beginning at 2pm, Congregation Beth Yeshurun will host a Sensory-Sensitive Hanukkah Event for congregants of all ages with visual, auditory or social sensitivities or disabilities. The celebration includes cookie decorating, latkes, crafts, a Hanukkah photo booth, and an unplugged Hanukkah sing-along.

Chanukah in the Snow

Sufganiyot (photo by Elisheva Goha)

On Dec. 18 beginning at 4:30pm at Martin Debrovner Park, Chabad of Uptown hosts “Chanukah in the Snow.” The all-ages menorah-lighting event will have plenty of doughnuts and latkes, an array of Chanukah crafts, a dreidel prize wheel, and, according to our sources, 10,000 pounds of snow. So bundle up — or at least bring your mittens. This is a free event, but RSVP is required.

Young Jewish Professionals' Chanukah Fire and Snow 

In the days (and nights) after the first light of the menorah is lit, the celebrations around town will continue. On Dec. 20, beginning at 7:30pm, Young Jewish Professionals Houston will host a sophisticated Chanukah party geared to twenty- and thirtysomething professionals. The classy event will be a stylish party “around the fire in snow,” with gelt s’mores, hot cocoa, drinks, music, a dinner buffet, and sufganiyot and latkes for dessert.

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