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November 15, 2012 - Image 34

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-15

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8 Nights Of Family Fun

Forgo the gifts and bring on the fun.

Lynne Konstantin I Contributing Writer


ather than trying to compete with a
certain other gift-giving holiday this
season, try turning the focus onto
family, friends, fun — and giving. Here, eight
ideas to get you started celebrating.

Each night of Chanukah, call a family mem-
ber or friend you've been meaning to call
for ages but haven't because life gets in the
way. Let each member of the family choose
and vote who to call each night. Wish them a
Happy Chanukah and tell them you're think-
ing about them.

Round up the kids, take a trip to your
local Target's $5 movie rack (or the
library: free!) and choose a movie you
all agree on. While you're there, pick up
some microwave popcorn, lots of treats
and snuggle up for Family Movie Night.
Want it to be a surprise? Pile all the
items into a beach pail, wrap it up with
tissue paper and present it to your fam-
ily the first night of Chanukah. Choose
a night on the calendar together and
designate your celebration.

In the true spirit of the miracle of eight
nights of oil (and giving the Earth a
break for a night), have an evening by candlelight (and
menorah light, of course). Tell stories, play simple games,
roast marshmallows, bring out the sleeping bags and hang
out together. Talk about what it would be like to live like
that every day, and how it would feel if you had just one
light bulb that should last for one night, and it lasted for
eight nights.

Throw a Chanukah party for friends and family, with all
the trimmings. However, instead of asking guests to bring
gifts for each other or a grab bag, have them bring some-
thing wrapped to donate to an organization for people
in need. Or, have a "shoe" or "coat" (or another item of
your choosing) party: Ask each guest to bring one of the
chosen items (either new or lightly used), and part of the
evening's festivities will be wrapping and decorating the

— Yad Ezra, which provides free kosher food, toilet-
ries and household cleaning items to low-income Jewish
families in Southeast Michigan. Berkley (248-548-3663;
— Forgotten Harvest rescues food by collecting sur-
plus, prepared and perishable food from sources such
as grocery stores, restaurants, caterers, dairies, farmers,
wholesale food distributors and other Health Department-
approved sources and delivers free of charge to emergency
food providers throughout Metro Detroit. Oak Park (248-
967-1500; forgottenharvest.org ).
— Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit,
which focuses on the Jewish community while provid-
ing services to all, covers almost all the bases. Among
the family-friendly options: Meals on Wheels, Friendly
Visitors (visiting or taking to lunch a homebound older
adult), Adopt a Family and more. West Bloomfield (248-
592-2300; jfsdetroit.org).

Gather the family for a day (or evening) of volunteering.
Have the kids help research local organizations and what
they do, and vote to choose where you'd like to go. A few

Sure, do a batch of the standard white-potato latkes —
we're not saying they're not addictively awesome. But do a
little research online and find some fancy recipes that the
whole family can get in on. If you're ambitious, each per-

34 November 15 • 2012


son can choose one recipe: try sweet potato lakes, choco-
late chip latkes, apple latkes, olive latkes, corn, ricotta,
smoked salmon and more (all recipes can be found in a
quick Internet search).

Just like the Halloween tradition of "boo"ing a friend,
leave a surprise Chanukah care package on a friend's
porch. Fill a basket with homemade (or store-bought —
that's OK, too) Chanukah cookies, some dreidels, some
gelt and whatever other fun treats you choose. Add a note
requesting that the recipient pay it forward.

Take photos of your family lighting Chanukah candles
(plus print out copies of recent pictures of family mem-
bers), draw pictures or projects together, write a short bio
of what's going on in your lives right now (favorite songs,
favorite books, sports and classes the kids are taking) and
have each family member write a sentence about what
they love about their family. Date all materials and seal
them up in a box to be stashed away and opened on the
first night of Chanukah next year.

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