Hanukkah Survival Guide

hanukkah menorah

HANUKKAH MENORAHEveryone’s favorite winter holiday is fast approaching – but are you ready for Hanukkah?

You might have planned the perfect Hanukkah but in the words of our wise, Yiddish-speaking ancestors, “der mentsh tracht un Got lacht” – man plans and God laughs. You never know if life will run to plan or if your entire schedule will be monumentally ruined thanks to a bad cold. These are our top tips for surviving anything the winter throws at you – in style!

Survival Tip #1: Be Prepared

As all boy scouts can tell you, the key to surviving anything is to be prepared. On Hanukkah, this means double checking your essentials, recipes, and planner, and making sure you’re stocked with a little extra of all the basics.


If you’re planning on serving latkes at your Hanukkah party, buy in an extra bottle of oil for frying, and don’t underestimate how long the frying actually takes! You can make life easier for yourself by pre-shredding your potatoes and storing them in a bowl of water in the fridge for up to a day.

Hanukkah Party

potato latkeHanukkah parties are a fantastic way to catch up with your family and friends in a casual, fun environment: an evening of candles, donuts, and gifts is so much more relaxed than formal Yom Tov meals! Make sure you have enough napkins (oily food and Grandma’s prized lace tablecloth do not mix), plenty to drink, and as much food as you’ll need to keep everyone full and happy. Make sure you have extra sour cream and applesauce on hand, and check dietary requirements before your guests show up so that there’s definitely something for everyone.

Hanukkah Gifts

There’s always the odd old aunt that forgets to RSVP and shows up anyway, and that can get really awkward really fast – especially on a festival like Hanukkah when you’ll probably be exchanging gifts! It’s a good idea to buy a couple of general gifts just in case someone shows up unannounced; a gorgeous scented candle or a fancy bottle of olive oil will always be appreciated.

Survival Tip #2: Stay Healthy

There’s nothing worse than waking up sick and being faced with a day filled with plans and a houseful of guests! If you want to get the most out of your Hanukkah holiday, you need to keep healthy through the winter. Make sure you drink lots of water, wrap up warm, and eat nutrient-dense foods like soup – the vitamin boost from a steaming bowl of hot, delicious chicken or vegetable soup will help keep you healthy all winter long.

Survival Tip #3: Detox

hanukkahIf you actually want to survive Hanukkah, you have to come out the other side of the eight-day extravaganza feeling as good as you did going in – despite the copious amounts of delicious fried goodness (badness) you may consume!

When we say detox, we don’t mean some fad fruit juice cleanse or anything else that’s unproven and potentially unsafe. We’re referring to taking even better care of yourself than normal, with a few extras thrown in to help combat your latke intake:

  • Detox? Pre-tox! – make your calories count. Whether you’re frequenting your kid’s school events, attending your synagogue’s Hanukkah party, or hosting your nearest and dearest, Hanukkah events are full of food. Skip the junk and keep your calories for something worthwhile like a sticky, sweet, powdered-sugar donut still warm from the frier.
  • Make sure you’re hydrated. Water will help your body flush out toxins and prevent your skin from becoming oily or greasy when you’re indulging in the season’s treats.
  • Eat light when you’re not Hanukkah-ing. No-one eats latkes for every meal: the crispy cakes are made from carb-loaded potatoes (and often bound with flour) and deep fried in oil. Enjoy them – they’re delicious! – but consider a salad for lunch to help balance them out.

Let us know in the comments below how you’re getting ready for the holiday!