How to Host a Bang-Up Socially-Distanced Hanukkah Celebration

Planning a Covid-friendly Hanukkah party requires some creativity, a little flexibility, and some magic Hanukkah oil!

Nearly a year of COVID-19 has many of us feeling down. Want to bring a little light in with a safe Hanukkah celebration? It might be a little more complicated, but it is not impossible! Here are some ideas for you to safely celebrate with friends, family and loved ones. 

(Note: This article is geared toward hosting an event outdoors or online for friends. Check out our other piece,How to Celebrate Hanukkah At Home, for family indoor gatherings.)

Keeping Warm Outside

To keep your event Covid-friendly, outdoors is the way to go. Many of us live in climates that are cold and dark this time of year, which will make celebrating outdoors a bit more of an adventure — so try to embrace it! If you have a backyard, you can bring a portable table outside for food, and any outdoor chairs you have. If you have an apartment and are preparing your event in a city, consider a local park and claim a table to decorate as your own.  If possible, consider firing up a firepit, campfire or grill — something to provide a focal point of light and heat. After all, fire is on-point for this holiday that celebrates the miracle of the burning oil.

Party Favor-Style Your Snacks

People will be wearing gloves. So whether you make your own food, or have it catered, consider going with party-favor style, individually wrapped or small containers. Make a latke corner with dip containers for the sour cream and applesauce fixings, and bags for the oh-so-yummy jelly donuts. Chocolate coins (gelt), are typically already wrapped, so you can easily serve those too! As for presentation, consider the container or bag so it looks inviting and people can see the food they are going to eat. If you are making the food at home, wear a mask and gloves while you make it so it can be served to others safely as well. 

Warm and Cozy Foods

Warm your guests from the inside! In addition to the traditional warm latkes and donuts, consider serving hot chocolate, apple cider or another enticing hot beverage with a portable urn to keep it warm and toasty. Set aside packs of Hand Warmers for your guests to take and shake and keep their hands warm; they can be purchased here

Light it up

If you’re holding your party around candle-lighting, it will be dark out. Put out lanterns or string festive lights so guests can see each other. And you can even light your menorah outside if you provide enough wind protection. We recommend a glass terrarium like this. This takes the commandment of pirsumei nesa — publicizing the miracle — to a whole new level. Here are different ways to light your menorah outside. (link article)

Keep it Moving

Standing still in the cold is tough. But movement will help everyone keep warm, so try to encourage that. Have kids run latke relay races. Pump up the Hanukkah tunes and hold a dance-a-thon. Or just plan a trek through the neighborhood — maybe you can see if you can spy menorahs in other people’s windows.

Jazz Up That Virtual Party! (Zoom Party Ideas) 

Maybe outdoors just isn’t an option. Zoom has become such an accessible platform, and there are definitely some fun ways you can spice up a virtual party with friends. Here are some ideas:

  • Host a Hanukkah themed paint and sip party. Have some friends stock up on art supplies and nosh and follow a Youtube video together or just freely paint together.
  • Hanukkah trivia game! You can personalize the game and make it fun for your group and maybe prepare it with a friend to work together. Throw in odd-ball trivia questions, Hanukkah history, and funny jokes. Try our Hanukkah quiz to challenge your guests! 
  • Play Dreidel together! This one is a no-brainer, and perfect to play virtually and you can also send everyone a dreidel in the mail before playing and a bag of gelt (chocolate coins) to get started. 

Covid won’t last forever. Hopefully next year we will be back to frying latkes in warm kitchens with crowds of loved ones gathered round. In the meantime, in honor of our scrappy forebears who fought the Greeks riding elephants, let’s try to let in a little light in mid-winter with creative and safe celebrations!

Discover More

When Is Hanukkah in 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026 and 2027?

In 2023, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, Dec. 7 and lasts until sundown on Friday, Dec. 15.

Is it OK to Blow Out Hanukkah Candles?

What do you do if you need to leave home after lighting your menorah.

30 Festive Songs To Stream This Hanukkah

Listen to Hanukkah music in English, Hebrew, Yiddish and Ladino.