What you need to celebrate Hanukkah

Reviews

There are 24 spellings for the word "Hanukkah" in the English language, so don’t worry if you see it written multiple ways during the holiday season.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

Which items you need to celebrate Hanukkah are best? 

There’s plenty to remember as the holiday season rolls around and the last thing you want is to get to that first night of Hanukkah and realize you’ve forgotten something. If you’re worried about making sure you’re ready, consider making a checklist to ensure you’re all set. If you don’t know where to start, there are a few basics you’ll need. So, whether you’re hosting your first Hanukkah candle lighting or you need a refresher on the basics after a busy year, here is what you need to celebrate Hanukkah no matter where you are.

When is Hanukkah?

calendar

Hanukkah begins on the eve of the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. The Jewish calendar is not the same as the Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar used widely across the world today. As a result, the dates for Hanukkah vary on most calendars from year to year. Typically, Hanukkah begins in November or December and always lasts for eight days.

Why is Hanukkah called “the festival of lights”? 

The word “Hanukkah” translates to “dedication” in English and refers to the rededication of Jerusalem’s Second Temple. Hanukkah is known by many as “The festival of lights” because in the classic story of the holiday the little bit of oil that the Jewish people had burned for eight nights instead of one: a miracle. 

What do you need to celebrate Hanukkah?

Some Hanukkah essentials are reused year after year or even passed down from generation to generation, but if this is your first time celebrating Hanukkah or you’re looking to start new traditions, here are the essentials.

Menorah

The menorah is a special candelabrum used through the eight nights of Hanukkah. It features eight branches plus a ninth candle holder for the candle used to light each of the eight candles. This ninth candle is known as the Shamash. On the first night, one candle plus the Shamash are lit. On the second night, two candles plus the Shamash are lit, and so forth. Candles are placed in the menorah from right to left (the same way Hebrew is read) but are lit from the left to the right.

Best Hanukkah menorah 

Creative Judaica Hand Painted Jewish Hanukkah Menorah with Flowers

Creative Judaica Hand Painted Jewish Hanukkah Menorah with Flowers

What you need to know: This metal menorah stands 7.5 inches tall, 9 inches long and features an ornate tree, vine and flower design.

What you’ll love: It’s hand-painted in great detail and embellished with tiny crystals. The base looks like the base of a tree with roots and the candle holders look like little flower cups. This beautiful piece is functional for Hanukkah and can be displayed year round.

What you should consider: It’s on the small side considering the price tag.

Where to buy: Sold by Etsy

Best Hanukkah menorah for the money 

The Dreidel Company Menorah Tree of Life

The Dreidel Company Menorah Tree of Life

What you need to know: This metal menorah stands 11 inches tall, 10 inches wide and features a tree of life leaf pattern across the branches.

What you’ll love: It’s beautifully detailed with a sturdy base that won’t topple over. It’s a great size and comes available in either an antique gold finish or an antique silver finish. 

What you should consider: It’s not as heavy as it looks, which can make it feel a little cheaper.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Hanukkah candles

Hanukkah candles come in a variety of different colors and their height can vary based on style. A box of Hanukkah candles comes with 44 candles, which is enough to carry you through all eight nights of the holiday.

Best Hanukkah candles

Rite Lite Premium Chanukah Candles (Blue and White)

Rite Lite Premium Chanukah Candles (Blue and White)

What you need to know: This box includes 45 blue-and-white candles that stand 6.25 inches tall.

What you’ll love: The candles are hand dipped and hand decorated with lead-free wicks. They are thin and tall with colors that have both depth and texture. They don’t really drip and will burn for about an hour.

What you should consider: Some users have reported that they don’t fit in all menorahs.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Hanukkah candles for the money

Legacy Hanukkah Multicolored Candles

Legacy Hanukkah Multicolored Candles

What you need to know: This box has 44 wax candles in assorted colors that each stand 4 inches tall.

What you’ll love: These are affordable with a fun nostalgia factor for anyone who grew up using these little candles. The colors are bright and festive. 

What you should consider: The candles aren’t top quality and the box doesn’t come with an extra candle in case one breaks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Kippahs

A kippah, also known as a yarmulke, is a brimless cap worn on the head by all men and sometimes women on Jewish holidays and during Jewish ceremonies. It is often worn while a prayer is said during the Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony. 

Best kippah

HolYudaica Hand-Made Knitted Kippah with Star 0f David Embroidery

HolYudaica Hand-Made Knitted Kippah with Star 0f David Embroidery

What you need to know: This set comes with four kippahs in assorted colors, each with a Star of David embroidered on top.

What you’ll love: They come in several blue, white and silver patterns and are good, quality pieces. Since there are four of them, a whole family or group can have a matching set.

What you should consider: You can’t just buy one and you can’t pick one individual color scheme.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best kippah for the money

Zion Judaica Genuine Suede Kippot

Zion Judaica Genuine Suede Kippot

What you need to know: This genuine suede kippah is trimmed carefully around the edges and comes in over 20 solid colors.

What you’ll love: The quality is great with a simple yet timeless design. One kippah can be purchased individually but a bulk order of 12 gives you more bang for your buck.

What you should consider: The smallest set after one is 12, which can get pricier if you only want three or four instead of 12 or more. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Dreidel

The dreidel is the toy most frequently associated with Hanukkah celebrations. It’s a four-sided spinning top with a different Hebrew letter on each side. The dreidel game involves spinning the top and trading pennies or pieces of Hanukkah gelt based on which letter lands face-up. A dreidel can be constructed from wood, metal or plastic. 

Best dreidel

Gersihi Art of Silver Sterling Silver Dreidel

Gersihi Art of Silver Sterling Silver Dreidel

What you need to know: This sterling silver dreidel is made in Israel and measures 1.20 inches by 0.60 inches in size with the correct Hebrew letters on all sides.

What you’ll love: It features a beautiful, handcrafted filigree design that looks gorgeous up close and from afar. As decorative as it looks, it spins and functions just like any dreidel.

What you should consider: It might require polishing as silver tarnishes.

Where to buy: Sold by Etsy

Best dreidel for the money

The Dreidel Company Wood Dreidels (10-pack)

The Dreidel Company Wood Dreidels (10-pack)

What you need to know: This set comes with 10 wooden dreidels that stand 1.75 inches tall each and feature Hebrew letters with their English translations on the sides. 

What you’ll love: These are great for groups and particularly kids who are still shaky on their Hebrew letters and need English help. The lettering on the dreidels comes in assorted colors so everyone can pick their favorites.

What you should consider: The quality is good for the price, but can be inconsistent as these aren’t fancy dreidels.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Hanukkah gelt

Hanukkah gelt features flat, round pieces of chocolate candy wrapped in gold foil so that they look like coins. They are often given as a treat throughout the holiday and can be used as trading pieces when children play the dreidel game.

Best Hanukkah gelt 

The Dreidel Company Milk Chocolate Coins

The Dreidel Company Milk Chocolate Coins

What you need to know: This bag comes with 25 gold-foil-wrapped Belgian chocolate coins that are kosher and gluten-free.

What you’ll love: The chocolate is tasty and the coins are manufactured at a nut-free facility. Both the chocolate and the foil have a festive menorah design on them.

What you should consider: These come in one large bag not individual mesh bags, which might make gifting them more work.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best Hanukkah gelt for the money

The Dreidel Company Milk Chocolate Coins

The Dreidel Company Hanukkah Chocolate Gelt

What you need to know: This set comes with eight mesh bags, each with three gold-foil-wrapped milk chocolate coins for a total of 24 pieces.

What you’ll love: The fact that these are individually bagged makes giving them out at a Hanukkah party or celebration much easier. Each coin and wrapper features a fun menorah design.

What you should consider: They are not nut-free and the quality of the chocolate is inconsistent.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Emily Verona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Most Popular