With Hanukkah starting on December 24 this year, it may be overshadowed by that other big December holiday. But we think the holiday’s timing gives everyone even more reason to celebrate. From QT with family to tasty food, read on to discover eight reasons why Hanukkah rocks.

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photo: Live Eat Learn

1. Potato latkes.
Whether they’re made with Russets, yams, or sweet potatoes, these fried slabs of carbs are dripping with oily goodness. Can’t decide? Take your pick from these eight easy latke recipes to jazz up your Hanukkah dinner table.

photo: Israel_photo_gallery via flickr

2. Light the lights.
Hanukkah’s not Hanukkah without a proper menorah, or chanukia (that’s the proper word for a Hanukkah menorah) to hold those famous lights. Want to get creative with your candelabra? Learn how you can build your own menorah from funky or found items.

Dreidel timephoto: Sandor Weisz via flickr

3. Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel.
Sure, dreidels aren’t high tech. They’ve got no buttons, and you can’t play them on your Xbox (though, sadly, there is a dreidel app). But you’d be surprised how entertained kids can be when these small toys start spinning. Want to know the rules? Learn how to properly dreidel at MyJewishLearning.

Homemade Hanukkah Wrapping Paperphoto: courtesy ToriAvi

4. Want presents? How about eight nights of them?
Sure, we know it’s not all about the gifts — but try telling that to a five-year-old (whose best friend is broadcasting Santa’s morning delivery). Eight nights of celebration means kids can keep the excitement brewing for more than a week! This year, the celebration begins Dec. 24, which means your kiddos will be rockin’ Hanukkah-style until New Year’s Day.

By the way… Curious why Hanukkah falls on different dates every year? The Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle; thus the first day of Hanukkah can fall anywhere between November 28th and December 26th. To find out when it starts from now until 2020, check out the Chabad’s helpful “When is Hannukah” page. 

sufganiyot_avitalpinnick_flickr_hanukkah_redtricyclephoto: Avital Pinnick via flickr

5. You kinda have to eat donuts.
Fried foods like latkes and jelly donuts (Sufganiyot) are served during Hanukkah to represent the Maccabees’ small jar of oil that miraculously burned for eight nights. Want to make some donuts yourself? Get Martha Stewart’s perfect jelly donut recipe here, or get a healthier take on the yumminess from Cooking With My Kid

sandler-hanukkahphoto: Amazon

6. That Adam Sandler song… and other Hanukkah tunes.
Get into the Hanukkah spirit and groove out to our happy Hanukkah playlist that includes Adam Sandler’s famous Chanukah Song, plus modern takes on some classic Hanukkah songs.  

hanukkah-family-timephoto: Aaron Goodman via Yelp

7. Quality family time. 
When it comes down to it, Hanukkah is just another reason to get together with family, eat yummy food, and spend get some QT with the people you love. Want to do something different with the kids during the festival of lights? Try our list of easy Hanukkah crafts

hanukkah-meaning photo: Thomas Hawk via flickr

8. The story behind it is pretty cool.
Why does Hanukkah last eight nights? Why do Jews light menorahs? If your tiny tots have questions, head over to Shalom Sesame and watch this really cute video that tells the story of Hanukkah in a way little ones can understand. Older kids will appreciate this video from Howcast on “How to Understand the Hanukkah Story.” 

What’s your favorite thing about Hanukkah? Tell us in the comments section below!

—Melissa Heckscher

Featured photo: Israeli Ministry of Tourism via flickr