10 Hanukkah party ideas to put a “spin” on your celebration

A Hanukkah invitation featuring a gold menorah illustration surrounded by party items like a dreidl, candles, and challah bread.
Paperless Post BlogHolidays > 10 Hanukkah party ideas to put a “spin” on your celebration

In Judaism, Hanukkah is known as the Festival of Lights. During this eight-day-long celebration, families and friends of all ages come together to light the Chanukiah (colloquially called a menorah in the West), exchange gifts, and play games. This week (plus one!) is not only perfect for getting into the holiday spirit, but it also leaves ample opportunities for a festive Hanukkah party—and of course, for choosing the perfect Hanukkah party invitation to match.

From the delicious foods to the long-standing traditions, there are so many ways to embrace this fun and meaningful holiday with those close to you. The hardest part about throwing a Hanukkah party? Deciding which traditions you’d like to fit in! That’s why we’re here to help you plan the best celebration possible. So shine up your Chanukiah (and peel off any old wax you may have left on from last year) and read on for some unique and memorable Hanukkah party ideas to kick off the holiday season.


When is Hanukkah?

Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of the Hebrew month Kislev. This typically places the holiday sometime between November and December in the Gregorian calendar.


What are some Hanukkah traditions?

A black Chanukiah with lit blue candles.
Image via RDNE.


If there’s one thing Hanukkah isn’t short of, it’s traditions (and candles, but we’ll get to that in a moment.)

Hanukkah is a holiday that incorporates some of the most well-known traditions in the Jewish faith. Some popular ways people celebrate the Festival of Lights include:

  • Lighting the Chanukiah each night
  • Playing dreidel and other traditional Hanukkah games
  • Reciting the Hanukkah blessings
  • Eating fried Hanukkah party foods, like latkes and sufganiyot
  • Exchanging presents 

With each tradition, you’ll have the chance to center a fun Hanukkah party around the night’s events. Of course, if you’re planning to commemorate each of the eight nights of Hanukkah with its own get-together, you’ll need plenty of ideas for Hanukkah parties to stay busy the entire celebration. So let’s take a look at some unique Hanukkah celebration ideas to help you get started.


10 Hanukkah party ideas

Left: A blue Hanukkah card and white envelope. Right: Blue and white Hanukkah cookies, a Hanukkah card, and a Chanukiah with candles.
Hanukkah Doves” by Hello!Lucky for Paperless Post; Image via Cottonbro.


1. Cookies and candles party

Everyone knows that the only thing better than candles is… cookies. And together? They’re a total Hanukkah power couple. This straight-forward Hanukkah party idea combines traditional candle lighting with everyone’s favorite bite-sized sweet treat. 

Food: Cookies, duh! Bake some yourself (leaving at least one batch til the last minute so the sugary smell hangs in the air) or ask friends to contribute. Some delicious and festive Hanukkah cookie ideas to try include:

  • Iced sugar cookies – Sugar cookies are easy to customize for the upcoming holiday. Try cutting and icing these confections into fun shapes, like the Chanukiah or dreidel in a blue and white color scheme.
  • Hamantaschen cookies – While hamantaschen cookies are typically baked during the Purim holiday in the spring, it’s possible to put a Hanukkah twist on this classic Jewish baked good. Cut your cookies into festive shapes, like the dreidel, to reveal the delicious jam inside. Then, serve on a dreidel-shaped party napkin.
  • Red velvet rugelach cookies – Rugelach cookies are a traditional Hanukkah food and are a staple in Jewish holiday cooking. This red velvet recipe gives a decadent, wintery spin on a fan favorite.

Décor: Make your table the centerpiece of the evening, decked out with a beautiful Chanukiah—or several—and your best serveware covered in cookies and other traditional sweets. 

Activities:  Especially if this is the first night of Hanukkah, stick with the classics: candle lighting, dreidel and other Hanukkah party games, singing, and stuffing your face with yummy food. 

Cookies and candles party invitation wording


If you’re planning a cookies and candles Hanukkah party, this is a great opportunity to get creative with your invitations! Here’s an example of how you can word your invitations for this event:

Please join the Goldbergs for

Cookies and Candles

Bring a dozen of your favorite holiday cookies as we light candles for the first night of Hanukkah! 

We will have a sitter to keep the kids entertained so the whole family can enjoy the evening. 

Saturday, November 28th | 5 – 9 p.m.

123 East Tremont Avenue.


2. Lights, latkes, and libations party

Left: Latkes on a frying pan. Right: A white Hanukkah invitation and red envelope.
Image via Joe Lingeman; “Let There Be Latkes” by Paperless Post.


Get your guests ready for the ultimate Hanukkah night treat, starring the Three Ls. (What, you haven’t heard of them?) Lights, latkes, and libations!

Food: Hanukkah wouldn’t be complete without latkes, the fried potato pancake-like dish that’s a must-serve at any Hanukkah celebration. Grab plenty of wine and maybe even a little vodka (to stick with the potato theme) for some drinks with a kick. 

Décor: While the “lights” part is fairly straightforward (it is the Festival of Lights, after all), this is a chance to get creative with your décor. In addition to using the Chanukiah as your centerpiece for the evening, you can also illuminate the room with string lights, lanterns, or even the traditional oil lamps that date back to the very first Hanukkah celebration. 

Activities: There claims to be an Official Dreidel Drinking Game, and it sounds like a really fun time. 

Lights, latkes, and libations party invitation wording


Here’s how you can word the invitations for your libations and latke party:

Let there be latkes!

Molly & Leo

Invite you to a 

Latke & Libations Party

Friday, November the 29th at 5:30 p.m.

123 Eccles St.

(For even more mouth-watering Hanukkah party food recipes, check out these ideas and recipes from Food Network star Molly Yeh!)


3. Hanukkah gift exchange party

Ask almost anybody and they’ll tell you that one of the best things about Hanukkah is the presents, which you get for eight whole nights. And while this party idea may not last a full week-plus, it does guarantee that everyone goes home with a gift. 

Food: Let there be latkes! And wine. Lots of wine. 

Décor: A classic Hanukkah gifting party calls for classic Hanukkah décor. Hang banners, inflate blue, white, and silver balloons, and ask guests to bring their own Chanukiahs so that the whole space glows. 

Activities: You can organize the rules of your gift exchange however you want, whether each guest chooses a name beforehand, or it’s a white elephant situation. Be sure to set a price minimum and cap that all guests at your party can comfortably afford. 

Hanukkah gift exchange party invitation wording


Friendship is the greatest gift, but actual presents are always appreciated. Here’s how to invite your group over and let them know what to bring to your Hanukkah party

Gifts and Gelt 

O Hanukkah, O Hanukkah! Come light the menorah and swap some prezzies. Max price is $30—one gift per person, please!

Saturday, December 3rd at 5:30 PM

123 Charles Street 



4. Gelt, games, and gabs party

A white Hanukkah card with a gold star. Right: Two dreidels.
Lumina” by Kelly Wearstler by Paperless Post; Image via RDNE.


Liven up your Hanukkah with a little friendly competition and money—the chocolate kind will do just fine. Here’s what you’ll need for a night filled with Hanukkah party games:

Food: Chocolate coins (gelt) are a must, in addition to the typical (delicious) foods found at Hanukkah celebrations.

Décor: Go heavy on the silver decorations with hints of blue here and there. Make sure to scatter around plenty of gelt on tables. 

Activities: Dreidel (the regular version, or the drinking variation mentioned earlier) is the obvious one. Or play a round of Hanukkah trivia featuring questions about Hanukkah TV episodes, historical facts, and more.


Gelt, games, and gabs party invitation wording


Once you’ve chosen your favorite Hanukkah games, it’s time to send out the invitations. Here’s an example of what you can say:

You are invited for

An afternoon of 

Gelt, Games & Gab

Friday, November 30th at 4 p.m.

123 East Tremont Ave.


5. Giving is getting party

Hanukkah is about celebrating how fortunate we are to have what we have, so it’s the perfect time to give back to those who are in need. 

Food: In lieu of a potluck, tell friends you’ll supply the food as long as they bring along cans of food from their pantry to donate to charity. 

Décor: Set out large boxes labeled with the types of items you’re collecting, like canned food, coats, hygiene and period products, and new, unwrapped children’s toys so that guests can easily donate. 

Activities: Once you’ve collected all of your donations, you can bring them to a participating donation site. Reward yourselves afterward with a hearty Hanukkah meal (you can even order in if you’re all too exhausted!) and some delicious wine.


Giving is getting party invitation wording


Here’s how to tell guests what to bring to a Hanukkah party for charity:

Hanukkah Charity Drive & Dinner

Let’s lend a helping hand this Hanukkah. Please see the list below for the types of items we will be collecting for charity, followed by dinner at our home. 

Saturday, December 7th at 1 PM

123 Summer Street



6. Dinner, doughnuts, and dreidel party

Spend the night spinning the dreidel, noshing on doughnuts, and sitting down to a delicious feast with this party idea.

Food: Serve your guests a classic Hanukkah dinner on your nicest dishes—this is a special time of the year, after all. In addition to latkes and gelt, meaty dishes like brisket, lamb, schnitzel, and salmon are traditional Hanukkah crowd-pleasers, with sides such as candied carrots, challah bread, and applesauce. For dessert, pillowy sufganiyot (Israeli doughnuts)—symbolic due to being fried in oil—are the way to go. 

Décor: Decorate your home as you would any slightly formal dinner party, but stick with wintry hues if possible (think a navy tablecloth with white and silver tableware). You can use your Chanukiah as a centerpiece, along with white flower arrangements. 

Activities: Good old-fashioned conversation at the dinner table, reflecting on the past year and the excitement that lies ahead… and, of course, eating doughnuts.


Dinner, doughnuts, and dreidel invitation wording


Let your guests know they’re in for a treat (or several) with an invitation that reads like the following:

Happy Hanukkah

Join us for a Hanukkah celebration!

Dinner, donuts & dreidel!

Friday, December 20th at 5:30 p.m.

(or whenever)

123 East Tremont Ave.

RSVP – potluck welcome, not expected


7. Cookie decorating party

Peanut butter blossoms with gelt decorations on a dreidl-shaped white plate.
Image via Eating by Elaine.


Get the whole family involved with a hands-on cookie-decorating party, which conveniently serves as an activity and dessert in one. 

Food: While you don’t need to worry much about preparing or securing desserts (that’s something the kids can do, hehe!), they may take a while to be ready for eating. Be sure to provide plenty of Hanukkah finger foods for your little bakers to munch on, like mini latkes, doughnuts, and gelt.

Décor: Make a banner or sign designating your kitchen or party room as a Hanukkah bakery, and let the kids make signs with poster boards and markers “advertising” their creations. Set out beautiful platters for them to display all the cookies once the decorating is done. 

Activities: Cookie baking and decorating, of course! If you want to cut down on time and mess, you can pre-bake sugar cookies cut into Hanukkah-inspired shapes for kids to decorate with colored frosting and sprinkles.


Cookie decorating party invitation wording


Invite guests of all ages to the yummiest Hanukkah party ever with these words: 

Jefferson Elementary’s 2nd Grade

Hanukkah Party

Join us for cookie decorating and fun! Wear your Hanukkah sweaters for a festive celebration before the break.

Sunday, December 15

12 p.m. – 1 p.m.

In Mrs. Fischel’s classroom


8. Challah-day party

Left: Two challah loaves surrounded by honey, right: a Hanukkah party invitation with illustrated text that reads “Challa-day Party.”
Image via Pies and Tacos Blog; “Happy Challadays” by Paperless Post.


What better way to celebrate the holiday than by making it a challah-day? If your friends and family are into baking—and breaking—bread, warm them up with a cozy afternoon in the kitchen.

Food: Challah takes a couple of hours to make, and that’s without the socializing. Pick up some finger foods to nosh on, or serve a small meal while you’re waiting for your dough to rise. Don’t forget plenty of wine! 

Décor: Put out aprons for all of your Hanukkah bakers. Chefs’ hats are a nice (and fun) touch, too!

Activities: Baking, braiding, and devouring your challah, just in time for lighting the candles at sundown. If you want to turn it into a craft day, you can provide your guests with fabric paint to decorate their aprons.


Challah-day party invitation wording


Invite friends and family over to break delicious traditional bread with this fun Hanukkah invitation:

Challahday Party

Celebrate Hanukkah with the Kleins at their first-night nosh

Friday November 28th at 7:30 PM

123 East Tremont Ave.

New York


9. Hanukkah pajama party

Since Hanukkah festivities happen after sundown, it’s the perfect excuse to host a pajama party. For kids, a sleepover is the way to go. And for adults? Sometimes it’s just fun to show off your favorite inside outfits to the outside world. 

Food: Try a breakfast-for-dinner theme, serving up latkes (aka potato pancakes) beside regular sweet pancakes, eggs, chocolate babka, fruit blintzes, and of course, fried doughnuts. 

Décor: Go all out with classic Hanukkah decorations, and don’t forget to place some chocolate gelt on each slumber party attendee’s pillow for a sweet late-night surprise. 

Activities: Put on a marathon of Hanukkah TV episodes and movies, like “The Hebrew Hammer” and “Eight Crazy Nights.”


Hanukkah pajama party invitation wording


Here’s how to invite your guests to take part in your after-hours Hanukkah hangout:

Potato Pancake PJ Party!

Slip into something more comfortable to light the candles with us 

Friday, November 30th at 8:30 PM

Our home 


10. Hanukkah housewarming party

An animated Hanukkah party invitation with dancing menorah and text that reads “Hanukkah Housewarming.”
Blue Menorah” Flyer by Paperless Post.


Even if you’re still struggling to unpack those last few moving boxes, nothing makes a new home feel cozier than Hanukkah candles casting a warm glow over a group of your loved ones. 

Food: This may be the first party in your new place, but it doesn’t have to be your first big clean up. Turn your housewarming into a Hanukkah potluck (where friends bring—and take—their own containers back with them!) to eliminate mess and try out your pals’ favorite holiday recipes. 

Décor: No one expects you to know where your Hanukkah party decorations are right after you’ve moved, so opt for the basics, like your Chanukiah and some themed cocktail napkins. 

Activities: Plan a Hanukkah scavenger hunt around your new neighborhood with blue and silver colored items, gelt, felt dreidels, or items that start with the letter “H.”


Hanukkah housewarming party invitation wording


Invite your friends and neighbors to light the candles in your new pad with this invitation:

Chanukah Chousewarming 

It’s a miracle—we finally bought a house! We still haven’t unpacked all the kitchen stuff, so kindly bring a dish or drink to share.

Friday, December 7th at 5:30 PM

123 Charles Street 



Celebrate with Hanukkah party invitations from Paperless Post

Hanukkah may be eight days long, but that’s still not enough time to rely on snail mail invitations. Fortunately, Paperless Post is here to modernize your party planning process and deliver your Hanukkah invitations instantly. 

With Paperless Post, you can choose from tons of beautiful, best-in-class Hanukkah party invitations and find festive décor and supplies at our Party Shop. Customizable wording options and a digital RSVP tracker are always included to keep everything organized. And include even more details without cluttering your design when you add Blocks beneath the invitation! Start planning your Hanukkah party today with Paperless Post.


Browse Hanukkah Invitations


Hero image: “Gold Menorah” by Paperless Post.