Celebrate Hanukkah in Canada
Holiday Season

Celebrate Hanukkah in Canada

There is nothing quite like the holiday session in Toronto. When December is here, the city gets into a festive mood. Everything is so beautiful. I just love this time.

As a Jewish family in Toronto, we celebrate Hanukkah every year in December. I have always celebrated Hanukkah as part of the holiday session and I love it. Hanukkah is also called “The holiday of lights” so it makes a lot of sense to celebrate this holiday when there are lights everywhere.

Now that my first daughter is 4 years old, and even when she was younger, she started to ask many questions before the holiday arrived. She wants to celebrate Christmas like all of her friends, to have a big tree at home, and to wait for Santa to come with a gift.

I always let her know that we can enjoy Christmas outside, celebrate with friends, and visit the Holiday events in Toronto. But at home, we will also celebrate Hanukkah with our friends and family, and enjoy our Hanukkah traditions. It’s important to me that she understands that Christmas isn’t the only holiday with fun traditions.

Hanukkah traditions vary from household to household, but most are family-friendly and there are some basic ones that are fun for kids of all ages.

Hanukkah Traditions we love

1. Light up the Menorah candles
This is a daily ritual for the entire 8 days of the holiday.  On the first day, we light 1 candle, on the second day we light two candles and so on.

Celebrate Hanukkah in Toronto

2. We sing Hanukkah songs
Hanukkah is actually the Jewish Holiday with the most holiday songs, so we have lots of songs to sing. All the songs are actually made for kids.

3. We play with dreidels
There are so many types of dreidels. From big, small, to glow in the dark and even dreidels with music, you’ll find one your LO will love.

4. Hanukkah traditional food
Hanukkah traditional food is doughnuts filled with strawberry jam and latkes which are potato pancakes with applesauce. They’re not really healthy, but we don’t think about calories during the holidays. 😉

4. We go to Hanukkah community events and get-togethers- but not in 2020
There are many family-friendly Hanukkah events in Toronto and the GTA we used to go to every year.
Every evening we are invited to family or friends places and we meet up to light the candles together. We also host one or two evenings at our condo.
This year we will stay at home and celebrate with the girls.

Hanukkah Gifts

During Hanukkah, we give the kids gifts. In my family, we used to get one gift during the first Hanukkah evening, but I have also heard that in many families the kids get 8 gifts during the holiday, one for each night.

What is a Hanukkah gift?
The same as a Christmas gift. It is a toy that the kid has really wanted.
If you invited to a a friend house for a Hanukkah evening, and you are not sure what to bring to your host- always go with Wine and Chocolate box.

Hanukkah Gelt
Every Hanukkah evening we also give the kids some Hanukkah gelt – chocolate coins for the younger kids and money to the older kids.
If you are invited as a guest to Hanukkah evening, you can bring small gifts for the kids, or just bring Hanukkah Gelt.

Hanukkah Gifts and supplies

It is not as easy to find Hanukkah items and decorations in Toronto.
If you live in the Thornhill area you will have more options since some of the Dollar stores in this area have some Hanukkah supplies. However, outside Thornhill, it can be challenging to find Hanukkah supplies or even a dreidel.

Here are some ideas for Hanukkah Gifts and supplies you can order online:

Hanukkah Gifts and supplies_ The Story of Hanukkah
Hanukkah Gifts and supplies_ Hanukkah Bear
Hanukkah Gifts and supplies_ Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf
Hanukkah Gifts and supplies_ Bright Baby Touch and Feel Hanukkah
Hanukkah Gifts and supplies_ The Night Before Hanukkah
Hanukkah Gifts and supplies_Elmo's Little Dreidel

There are also a few local stores where you get get Hanukkah items in Toronto

  1. Healthy Moms Market store– Menorah, Candles, Cards and everting you need
  2. Indigo- They have mugs, decorations, Candles and much more in the Hanukkah spirit.
  3. Dollarama – Mainly in North York and Thornhill Area.
  4. The Israeli Source- I never been, but I heard they will have many Jewish holiday items.

2023 Hanukkah events in Toronto and GTA

Here are some Hanukkah events in Toronto and the GTA. Most of the events will take place on Dec 9-10 weekend.

Chanukah House at the JCC
This family Chanukah event will bring the Toronto Jewish community together for a unique, fun and activity driven experience! Sunday, December 10 · 4 – 6pm EST at Prosserman Jewish Community Centre

Chanukah Wonderland
Join us at the Schwartz/Reisman Centre as we celebrate the Annual Chanukah Wonderland spectacular with our friends from the Jewish Russian Community Centre. Sunday, Dec 10 12:00-4:30pm

From our family to yours: Happy Hanukkah

Celebrate Hanukkah in Canada

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Diel Gerber
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