Hanukkah Family-Friendly Fun In Orange County

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Hanukkah

There’s no shortage of super fun Christmas-related events in Orange County this holiday season. But finding Hanukkah-related family-friendly events can be a bit more challenging, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing. (I wrote this post about this challenge in general which has great ideas on how to incorporate this festive Jewish tradition into your holiday season.) That said, COVID-safe Hanukkah activities in Orange County are out there! Whether you’re a practicing Jew or just interested in educating your children on other world religions, there are a bunch of fun Hanukkah 2021 events happening in Orange County.

A bit of an overview if you aren’t familiar with the origin of Hanukkah: it’s a special holiday in the Jewish religion which commemorates the Maccabees and their brave quest to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. The Hanukkah celebration lasts eight nights and involves lighting candles on a special candelabra called a Menorah or more specifically, a Hanukkiah. While the dates change every year, Hanukkah is usually in December, but sometimes November around Thanksgiving. When this occurs, I like to refer to it as Thanksgivukkah!

This year, we celebrate Hanukkah 2021 by lighting candles on the evenings of November 28-December 5th.

In past holiday seasons, I’ve done my best to collect a complete list of kid-centric Hanukkah events happening in our area, most of which were free and involve donuts. This being the year 2021 and with COVID still a concern for many families with younger children and immuno-compromised loved ones, the options are a bit different. Some of the usual ones have been cancelled. But on the flip side, due to the prevalence of virtual events right now, there are more options being held by organizations that would ordinarily not be considered local! With the magic of the internet and Zoom, everything is local!

As always, if you know of one that is not included in this list, please comment with the info below. I’d love to add it!

 

Hanukkah 2021 Orange County Events:

 

PJ Library’s Hanukkah Hub – Virtual Event

Ongoing

PJ Library is a fantastic free resource that helps to educate families all across the country throughout the year on Jewish traditions and cultural celebrations. This Hanukkah season, they’ve put together a fantastic website filled with virtually everything you need to know about Hanukkah 2021 and how to have a kid-friendly celebration!

There’s this fun page of free printables, the ultimate list of Hanukkah books for kids, and a ton of kid-friendly audio stories and Hanukkah-themed podcasts.

Click here for a short video on how to make Hanukkah-inspired fried plantains from Cuban-Jewish Chef Jennifer Stempel!

Plus, any family may sign up each of their children for a free subscription of age-appropriate books about Jewish holidays, values, traditions, and themes which get sent to your home each month.

Free. 

Hanukkah 2021 PJ LIbrary books
Free Hanukkah 2021 books provided by PJ Library to children who sign up for their monthly book subscription club.

 

Hanukkah Market – Virtual Shopping Event

November 15 – December 19

Shop Hanukkah-themed merchandise from small business vendors located in Salt Lake City. The magic of these 2021 COVID-19 times is that you can shop virtually from home for all your Hanukkah-related gifts and accessories!

Free.

 

Hooray For Hanukkah at Pretend City – Irvine

November 25 – December 5

From their website: Spin the dreidel and light the Menorah! We’re celebrating Hanukkah at Pretend City! Let your little ones learn about this holiday through fun activities, traditions, games, and art! We will have full days of fun singing songs and getting in the holiday spirit!”

Included with Museum Admission. $13.95 per person. 

 

Chanukah Wonderland & Menorah Lighting – Laguna Niguel

November 28

4pm

Celebrate with Chabad of Laguna Niguel at City Hall as they light the menorah in person this year. There will be festive treats, fun crafts and activities for kids!

Free.

 

Chanukah On The Pier – San Clemente

November 28

4pm

Celebrate Hanukkah at the beach with this outdoor menorah lighting. Highlights include free magic glasses (which turn all lights into dreidels), free Dreidel-shaped fidget pop-its for kids, music, donuts, latkes, dreidels, gelt, and more.

Free.

 

Community Chanukah Celebration at the Merage JCC – Irvine

December 1

5-7pm

This in-person community candle lighting is open to all and will include music, crafts, and games. Dress like your favorite hero to celebrate the Maccabees. It will be held in the parking lot. Social distancing and rules about mask-wearing will be observed.

Free. Latkes, sufganiyot donuts and more food available for purchase. 

 

Chanukah With The Ducks – Honda Center Anaheim

December 1

Hey hockey fans! Join the Anaheim Ducks for a pre- and post-game Hanukkah celebration. Menorah lighting in the Honda Center parking lot at 5:30pm with  a bounce house, street hockey, music, treats, dreidels, games, and other family fun. Chanukah message on the jumbotron during the game plus free Chanukah with the Ducks T shirt, and post-game broomball on the rink.

$32 per ticket. Must reserve through link above. First 250 tickets receive a free Chanukah with the Ducks shirt.  

 

Hanukkah, The Festival Of Lights – Virtual Event

December 1

From the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, website: “Be transported across the globe on Wednesday, December 1 during Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights featuring performances by 8 international female artists inspired by 8 objects of Judaica from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston collection.

Free. Please note since this is being hosted by a museum in Boston, the times listed on their website will be in Eastern Time. 

 

The Star Of Jacob Screening – Yorba Linda

December 1

6pm

If you’ve got older children that are ready to learn about the Holocaust, this somewhat more somber Hanukkah celebration combines a menorah lighting with a screening of the documentary THE STAR OF JACOB, the story of Dr. Jacob Eisenbach. Screening includes a chance to meet the 98-year-old Holocaust survivor and Anaheim resident, who hid in a Jewish ghetto with his younger brother while the rest of his family was killed, and eventually forced to ride a Nazi death train to a concentration camp, where he managed to survive truly unspeakable horrors. Hanukkah is a time of celebration and appreciation of life, and what better way to embrace the meaning of this holiday that by learning the history of the Holocaust from one of the last living survivors of it.

$5. Includes latkes and jelly donuts. 

 

Skirball Hanukkah Celebration – Los Angeles 

December 5

From their website: “Let there be light! Join us for an afternoon and evening of music, storytelling, art-making, and celebration. Move to the grooves of Dublab DJ Callie Ryan, folk troubadours Zingarella, and klezmer group Yale Strom and Hot Pstromi. Watch Skirball Storytellers recount the age-old story of Hanukkah, create a one-of-a-kind art project, enjoy classic Hanukkah treats and holiday drinks, and celebrate community with a joyous sunset candle lighting.

$18 General tickets, $15 Seniors, students, and children over 12. $13 Children 2-12. Free to Members and children under 2. Includes timed-entry admission to their Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds exhibit. 

 

Latke Cooking Class – Virtual Event

December 5

2pm

Latke, latka, potato, potahto, they’re delicious no matter how you pronounce it! Join Chef Jill Effron as she makes her Grandma Evelyn’s famous potato latkes. She made them every time Jill would visit her or she would visit Jill. Your latke game will never be the same. (Can be made gluten-free and they are dairy-free.)

$35 per person; $50 per family (up to 4 people).  

 

Menorah At The Outlets – San Clemente

December 5th

4:30pm

Celebrate the end of Hanukkah with this outdoor menorah lighting celebration. Festivities include music, a balloon artist, comedy ventriloquist, crafts for the kids, treats, dreidels, gelt, and more.

Free. At Oak Tree Court.

 

Wishing you a safe and very Happy Hanukkah 2021!

Hanukkah Family-Friendly Fun In Orange County PIN

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Follow me on Instagram @EcoFriendlyMama, Twitter @EcoFriendlyMa, and Pinterest @EcoFriendlyMama! Though I was born and raised in New York City, I've lived in SoCal for over ten years now and am proud to call this beautiful and diverse place my home. My husband and I have a son and baby daughter (whom I was 9 months pregnant with when this photo was taken!). Prior to becoming a mommy I spent several years in feature film publicity and acquisitions for Miramax and later as the Creative Executive for Hilary Swank Productions before seguing to the music industry where I did Online Communications for the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. In my ample pre-parenthood free time, I also freelanced as a script analyst and screenwriter. I am fortunate now to be able to devote all my time to my family, but I still love to write so am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of this blog! I am a foodie, avid traveler, environmentalist, preschool board member, and unabashed Disney nut. I can also be found writing about green parenting and eco-conscious living on my personal website, https://ecofriendlymama.com.

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