Learn how to spell it. Hanukah? Channuka? Gameshow buzzer! Wrong answer! Basically any spelling is okay because it’s an English translation from the Hebrew. Wanna add a “Ch?” Go for it. Two n’s? Why not? Just shove a bunch of n’s and ch’s and k’s in there and go forth with confidence.
Buy a menorah (or as it’s properly called “a chanukiah”) that represents your personality. Don’t go with boring silver or gold. This ain’t your parents’ menorah, bro. Get a Yankees one or a nerdy one that looks like a TARDIS or the starship Enterprise. Better yet, make your own cool menorah using bowling pins or LEGOs. Go here for some great ideas: The 27 Craziest Menorahs. You’re welcome.
Realize that you don’t have to buy everyone you know eight presents. In this economy, one works just fine. But it could be fun to get a bunch of those gold chocolate coins and hand them out to interested parties at work or school every day. Just because you can’t afford eight presents doesn’t mean your Chanukah has to be just one day!
Get some of those plastic dreidels and a bunch of shot glasses. Play an adult version of driedel that’s really just a drinking game. Land on “gimel” and drink it all. Land on “nun” and don’t drink. Land on “hay” and drink half. Land on “shin” and pour yourself another shot. I did this once at a holiday party and immediately became the most popular person there. I can not recommend the dreidel drinking game highly enough. You’ll be spinning faster than that top.
Make a tower of latkes. Do not stop making latkes. Get out the frying pan and the applesauce and don’t even worry about how many people there are — oh, it’s just you? So you should probably make about a thousand latkes. You know. For later or whatever.
Listen, Jews know about two things: food and guilt. For that first one, get a bunch of soofganiyot (jelly donuts). Eat them all because you love HaShem. That’s a good excuse to eat too much fried food, right? For God?
Watch The Hebrew Hammer or Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy Nights. Have a Woody Allen marathon: (“You’re what Grammy Hall would call a real Jew.”) You know what? Even better, just watch the Rugrats Hanukkah movie. You know it’s the best one. The full movie can be found on Nick.com. I am FUH-REAKING OUT.
Listen to the Maccabeats. I will never not love this. I’d marry each and every one of these Jews — and I have no shame about it.
Hang up some lights. Why do Christmas decorations get to have such pretty lights when Channukah is the official “festival of lights” anyway? So on top of putting a menorah in your window, go ahead and hang up some blue and white lights. Get festive about it. My mom used to practically cover our front yard in “Chanukkah lights” so I didn’t feel left out as a kid. This is our festival of lights, damnit. There’s gonna be some lights in this piece!
Make a mix of songs about lights (specifically non-Channukah songs) like “Lights” by Ellie Goulding or “Lights” by Grasscut or “All Of The Lights” by Kanye and Rihanna, etc. Share it with friends and family. They’ll think you’re such a creative mensch.
On a serious mensch note, since you know you’ll be getting presents, Hanukkah is a great time to clean out your closets and room and donate the stuff you don’t need. Might make someone else’s holiday a little brighter.