This holiday season, I've gotten to thinking, which is a dangerous thing to let me do. I have been thinking about how back in the day, on this very website, I wrote about how there are a multitude of holidays I hold in higher regard than Chanukah. ("Back in the day" meaning Wednesday, July 11, 2012, because that's when I wrote it.)
Well, as I've gotten older and debatably wiser, I've come to an understanding that the many people who do not make it an annual habit of celebrating the Festival of Lights -- a.k.a. my goyim (non-Jewish) brethren -- seem to still think that Chanukah is on the same level as Christmas. And while I will always most certainly brag about our eight crazy night versus there sole, single, solitary day, I've come to the conclusion that our own holiday deserves to match some of their expectations.
So instead of leaving Chanukah in the oil, I figured I should do something about it -- be proactive about it. Be the best I can Maccabee. So I submit to you, my ever attractive Oy!Chicago reader, my list of eight ways to make Chanukah have a bit more fire, more energy, more pop pop -- POP! Enjoy.
Make potato latke houses
Seems pretty obvious to me that this should have already been a thing, because gingerbread shmingerbread. And applesauce or sour cream is obviously the mortar. I mean, if Passover is any indicator, we get a lot of value out of eating things that represent building materials.
Make reading 'Hershel and Hanukkah Goblins' a tradition
I'm all about making traditions, which is why I think adding a great Chanukah book to the mix (it's not like there are many Chanukah movies) is a must-have. Hence, I want to start making it so everyone reads Hershel and Hanukkah Goblins every year. It's a story of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles -- wait, that's The Princess Bride. Sorry.
Hershel and Hanukkah Goblins is a great story detailing the adventures of Hershel of Ostropol as he outwits a series of Hanukkah-hating hobgoblins. This story has some personal value as well because the teachings of this story once SAVED MY LIFE. Okay, maybe that's a bit hyperbolic. I simply learned from this story that it's difficult to grab pickles out of a jar with my hand, which is an important Chanukah lesson everyone should know.
Side bar: I had to spell Chanukah two different ways in that one, since my usual spelling is different than the book, which got a big confusing, but we'll get to that later. End side bar. On to salad bar, or rather, the dessert bar.
Play up the awesomenessicity that are sufganiyot
For those uninitiated, sufganiyot are deep-fried doughnuts filled with jelly or custard and topped with powdered sugar. Now that I have your attention, you can see why this needs to be a bigger deal.
However, the part of this I want to make happen most is to create the annual exchange of a dozen sufganiyot, where a dozen means eight, because it's Chanukah. I will call this exchange, Secret Sufganyiot.
Add variety to Chanukah gelt
Chanukah gelt needs a taste lift. Chocolate is great and all, but it's in every. single. piece. You open the foil. Eat some chocolate. Open more foil. Eat more chocolate. Miss getting all the foil -- still eat the chocolate. It's outrageous, monotonous and delicious.
So my idea is this: You get your bag of gelt, you go to the biggest piece first (this is the correct way to eat gelt) you pull back the foil and what do you find? An entire Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.
Where's my check?
Settle on the spelling of Chanukah/Chanukkah/Hanukah/Hannukah/Hanukkah
Christmas does it right, because there is just the one way to spell it. So my vote is we come up with one simple spelling as well. Step one, not starting it with "Ch" and agreeing to start with just "H." I say this because many people have difficulty producing the appropriate amount of phlegm to get the "Ch" sound right and I wish to reduce their embarrassment.
Then, with Christmas, there is the ultra-easy way of referring to the holiday as "X-Mas." I feel we should do the same. So, given using an "H" and wanting to be as concise as possible, from here on out I shall be wishing you all a -- wait for it -- "Happy H-kah!"
Enhance Chanukah candles
How you ask? Well, I'll tell you. Instead of candles -- sparklers. Yes, sparklers. Because, if that doesn't add a bit more fire, more energy, more pop pop - POP… what will? Maybe Roman Candles? Too much?
Adding another nightly blessing
I love saying the blessings when lighting the menorah. But after the first night when we get to say three, the reaming nights we only say two. That is a bit of a letdown. So I feel we should incorporate more, which is why I feel that we need to add the Kiddush. There should always be more Kiddush, especially if it's just you and your significant other on some of these nights. Wine and candles can make for a very romantic H-kah.
A new twist on dreidel
See what I did there? Dreidel is a game which tears friends, families and loved ones apart. Because no one wants to play dreidel but everyone still makes you play dreidel. So I'm looking to spice it up a notch. My idea? Eight-sided dreidels. Boom! In addition to the four established sides, the four "new" sides you can land on will cause you to:
- Put 2 coins in the pot
- Take one third of the pot
- Literally flip the table to end the game
- Prompt you to call your mother.
I will call it, "Dreidels Against Jewmanity."
Those are my eight H-kah enhancements to make the holiday the one we deserve even if it's not the one we need right now. I think that's a pretty good start so now I need you to embrace these enhancements by going out, getting some sparklers, finding your favorite Latke House kit, practicing the Kiddush and grabbing your copy of Hershel and Hanukkah Goblins so we can make this H-kah something to write home about! Because right now it's just something I write on Oy!Chicago about.