Hanukkah arrives early this year–it starts December 1st. I’m here to remind you that there are adorable, Hanukkah-inspired baby gifts for newborns, but first, a bit of trivia–did you know there are 16 accepted ways to spell Hanukkah in English? Here they are: Hanukkah, Chanukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, Chanuka, Chanukkah, Channukah, Chanukka, Hanukka, Hannuka,Hannukkah, Channuka, Xanuka, Hannukka, Channukka, and Chanuqa. There’s only one in Hebrew.
Now back to holiday baby gifts!
My first choice is a personalized bodysuit celebrating baby’s first Hanukkah with a brightly lit menorah, and it’s washable 100% cotton. My other favorite is also personalized, and it’s a wonderful keepsake families can enjoy year after year. The ceramic plate on the right with the dreidel design is available with a pink background for girls and blue for boys. If you get the dreidel plate, it might be helpful if you know how to play. Let’s wrap this up with the rules for playing the basic dreidel game:
1. Any number of people can take part in the game.
2. Each player begins the game with an equal number of game pieces (about 10-15) such as pennies, nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, matchsticks, etc.
3. At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center “pot.” In addition, every time the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player should put one in the pot.
4. Every time it’s your turn, spin the dreidel once. Depending on the outcome, you give or get game pieces from the pot:
a) Nun means “nisht”or “nothing” [in Yiddish.] The player does nothing.
b) Gimmel means “gantz”or “everything” [in Yiddish.]. The player gets everything in the pot.
c) Hey means “halb”or “half” [in Yiddish.] The player gets half of the pot. (If there are an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes half of the total plus one.)
d) Shin (outside of Israel) means “shtel” or “put in” [in Yiddish.] Peh (in Israel) means “pay.” The player adds a game piece to the pot.
The four sides of the dreidel, from right:
nun, gimmel, hey, and shin
5. If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either “out” or may ask a fellow player for a “loan.”
6. When one person has won everything, that round of the game is over!
7. We suggest that if you use money to play the game, ask players to donate part or all of their winnings to tzedakah (charity.) You can ask parents to match these contributions. This way everyone wins and you can share the Hanukkah gifts with those in need!