14 Hanukkah Party Ideas, JIC You Need Some Inspo

Kara Cuzzone
·8 mins read
Photo credit: Khadija Horton
Photo credit: Khadija Horton

From Cosmopolitan

I'd like to file a formal complaint: when it comes to holiday parties, Hanukkah is *always* overlooked. Come December 1st, my calendar is packed with secret Santa gift swaps and ugly Christmas sweater parties, but never a single Hanukkah bash. What's up with that?

This year is gonna be different though because you, dear reader, are going to throw an epic Hanukkah party. (Don't worry, you don't have to invite me). How, you ask? By setting a date, finalizing your guest list, and copying recreating some of the actually-fun ideas below.

But before you send that group message (let's be real, who sends any other type of invitation anymore?), a quick reminder: We're still in a pandemic, people. This means you're gonna need to Google your state's gathering size limit to see how many people you're allowed to have over for this little soirée. Oh, and you'll probably want to take a look at the CDC guidelines for personal and social activities to make sure you're staying safe by following those guidelines too.

Alrighty, now it's time to plan a Hanukkah ~event~ that will put every other holiday party to shame. Here, find 14 Hanukkah party ideas so good, your friends are gonna force you to host one every year.

Set an Ugly Sweater Theme

Have everyone show up in their ugliest Hanukkah sweater (yes, they're a thing). Make it clear there are no ugly Christmas sweaters allowed at this shindig, k? We've all seen enough knit reindeer to last a lifetime.

Mix Up Some Menorah Martinis

People love having a themed drank to sip on. My suggestion: Menorah Martinis. They look totally fancy and on-brand with Hanukkah colors, but they're actually super easy to make. Here's the recipe:

  • 3 ounces vodka

  • 1/4 ounce sweet vermouth

  • splash Blue Curaçao

  • blueberries for garnish

Chill two martini glasses and coat the rims in sugar. Fill a mixing glass with ice. Pour in vodka and sweet vermouth. Shake and strain into the martini glasses. Add a splash of Blue Curaçao. Garnish with some blueberries.

Recipe from My Daily Find

Play a Dreidel Drinking Game

The rules are simple: Spin your dreidel, follow the instructions it lands on, then pass it on to the person next to you. If you're too slow and end up with both dreidels, you're out. P.S., you can totally play this with two classic dreidels too. Just make up rules for what each of the sides means.

Do a Hanukkah Harry Gift Swap

It's exactly like secret Santa—but for Jews and their friends. Use Elfster to randomly assign participants a Hanukkah Harry, then set a price limit for the gifts and a date for the big reveal. Basic? Yes. Still super fun? Duh.

Have a Latke Cooking Competition

View this post on Instagram

I’m calling these my: OH S@!* Company’s Coming Over LATKES 🕎 Ever since I found out from ancestry.com that I have some Jewish ancestry, I knew I had to make some latkes 🙌🏻 Even if I didn’t, I still had to because, well, latkes are amazing 💯 This recipe is SUPER easy because it calls for mostly frozen potatoes so you aren’t grating potatoes in the kitchen all day (hence the name above). These also won’t taste super greasy since I did a shallow fry in the skillet 👏🏻 Hope you have the best rest of Hanukkah and a happy Sunday! ✨ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ Ingredients: - @traderjoes 20 oz frozen potato hash - 1 fresh potato - 1 yellow onion - 3 TBS flour - 2 eggs - 1/4 cup vegetable oil - salt, pepper, paprika ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀ Directions: - let the potato hash thaw in a large bowl until no longer frozen - peel and grate the fresh potato along with the onion and add to the collandar - use several paper towels and press down on the potato mixture ridding most excess moisture - add flour, salt, pepper, paprika, eggs and mix until combined - in a skillet, add vegetable oil over medium heat and gently add about 2 TBS sized potato mixture on a spatula in the skillet, cook for 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown - place latkes on a plate lined with a paper towel, replenish vegetable oil as you continue to fry - serve with sour cream or applesauce and chives . . . #healthylifestyle #easyrecipes #simplerecipes #nomnom #eeeeeats #balance #wellness #delicious #goodeats #food #realfood #f52grams #thekitchn #latkes #instafood #yum #hanukkah #chanukah #latke #happyhanukkah #holidayseason #f52grams #thekitchn #feedfeed

A post shared by Julia | Easy Healthy Food (@anythingbutramen) on Dec 29, 2019 at 7:56am PST

Split your attendees into teams of two and have them go head to head to see who can make the most delish potato pancakes. Volunteer to be the judge so you can eat your bodyweight in latkes. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it 🤷.

Make It Lit

I know, totally cringey that I just said lit. But Hanukkah is the festival of lights, so you should decorate your place accordingly. Hang up string lights, add some lanterns, even set up some fairy lights if you want. The soft twinkly vibes will be 10/10.

Break Out 'The Chosen One'

This is basically the Jewish version of 'Cards Against Humanity,' so you know it's gotta be fun. Reviewers say the cards are so hilariously accurate, even Bubbe will laugh.

Hang Up Some IG-Worthy Balloons


Sure, you could be boring and hang up some simple blue and white balloons. Or, you could go all out by stringing up this balloon sign and voilà, you have an Insta-worthy backdrop your frands will be dying to take some pics in front of.

Make It a Pajama Party

A pajama dress code is the best kind of dress code. Tell everyone to rock their most ridiculous holiday pjs to your bash. Hopefully that involves at least a few menorah onesies.

Chef Up Some Sufganiyot

Pronounced soof-gah-nee-oht, these are deep-fried jelly donuts topped with powdered sugar 😍 . And yup, they're definitely best served warm so I'd recommend making them right before—or during—your party. FYI: the dough takes a couple of hours to rise, so plan accordingly.

Recipe from Frosting & Fettuccine

Play Poker with Gelt

Challenge your guests to a good old fashioned game of poker. But instead of wagering chips (boring) or money (stressful), place your bets using gelt. Eat some while you play too, obvi.

Host a Fancy Dinner Party

Excuses to get dressed up are pretty much nonexistent these days, so you might as well make your own. Host a fancy Hanukkah dinner party complete with challah, latkes, kugel, brisket, and homemade gelt, if you're feeling really ambitious. Or just order in, I won't judge.

Serve Some Manischewitz Wine

Unless all of your guests are Jewish, chances are they've never tasted this super sweet Kosher wine. Welp, now's the time. No Jewish holiday is complete without it.

Do a Cookie Swap

Cookie swaps don't belong to Christmas, ok? You can totally do a Hanukkah cookie swap too. Buy some festive cookie cutters, whip up some sugar cookie dough and your batch will practically make itself (but actually, you need to cut them out and bake them). Have everyone show up with a dozen of their own cookies so you can each try a few. Here's hoping that your friends are a little more creative with their baking...

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