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. (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, 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 2023 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 2023 by lighting candles on the evenings of December 7 – 14.

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 2023 Orange County Events:

 

Menorah Lighting Ceremony At Fashion Island – Newport Beach

December 7

From the Fashion Island website: “Celebrate Hanukkah at Fashion Island with singing and festive traditions. This event, in partnership with Chabad Jewish Center, Newport Beach, will be held in the Atrium Garden Courtyard on Thursday, December 7 from 3:30pm – 5:30pm.”

Free.

 

Chanukah Wonderland & Menorah Lighting – Laguna Niguel

December 10

Celebrate with Chabad of Laguna Niguel at City Hall as they commemorate 18 years of light in our community and light the menorah. There will be festive treats, fun crafts, and activities for kids!

Free.

 

Chanukah On The Pier – San Clemente

December 10

Celebrate Hanukkah at the beach with this outdoor menorah lighting. Highlights include free Hanukkah head-boppers, giant bubbles, the Dreidel Man, music, donuts, latkes, dreidels, gelt, and more. This year’s celebration includes the Kindness Menorah which you are invited to help cover in messages of love and peace.

Free.

 

Tzedek Tots Chanukah Celebration – Fountain Valley

December 10

Congregation B’Nai Tzedek is hosting this fun Chanukah celebration specifically for tots! It’s family learning day on campus with activities for all ages, but this one is specifically for younger ones to enjoy. There will be cooking, music, and an all school Chanukah party at the end of the day.

Free and no affiliation or membership required to participate. For ages 6 months to 4.5 years old. RSVP to Cantor Sagan at [email protected].

 

Skirball Hanukkah Celebration  

December 10

From their website: Make Hanukkah memories at the Skirball! Beloved klezmer rockers Mostly Kosher return to headline this year’s festival with support from dublab DJ Callie Ryan. Skirball Storytellers bring the Hanukkah story to life with a theatrical performance featuring music and puppetry.

Between performances, take a spin in our Dreidel Lounge, grab a plate of latkes and jelly doughnuts, strike a pose in a holiday-themed photo booth, light up the night with a handcrafted torch-making activity, or join a storybook reading and dance lesson inspired by the game of dreidel. At sundown, join your light with ours for a unique candle lighting that celebrates community and hope.

$18 General tickets, $15 Seniors, students, and children over 12. $13 Children 2-12. Free to Members and children under 2. Includes admission to the museum.

 

Menorah At The Outlets – San Clemente

December 12

Celebrate Hanukkah with this outdoor menorah lighting celebration. Festivities this year include a dancing LED 10 foot robot show (yes you read that right!), glow in the dark sticks, music, a balloon artist, crafts for the kids, treats, dreidels, gelt, and more.

Free. Registration is encouraged through the website linked above.

 

Hanukkah Celebration at Pretend City – Irvine

December 13

Spin the dreidel and light the Menorah! Pretend City is celebrating Hanukkah again this season. Let your little ones learn about this holiday through fun activities, music, traditions, games, and art! There will be special Hanukkah themed event on this day with Rabbi Sender.

Included with Museum Admission. $19.95 per person. Seniors $17.99. Military & Family $16.95. Members and children up to 12 months old are free. 

 

Community Chanukah Celebration at the Merage JCC – Irvine

December 13

5-7pm

This in-person community candle lighting is open to all and will include music, crafts, and games. Last year this celebration featured latkes, sufganiyot donuts and more food available for purchase.

Free. 

 

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 2023 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 books provided by PJ Library to children who sign up for their monthly book subscription club.

 

Wishing you a safe and very Happy Hanukkah 2023!

 

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Hilary Feldstein Ratner
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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