DAY FIVE: Book night
The week before Hanukkah, visit a library or book store. Have each member of the family select a book that highlights the Jewish experience, or describes the story of Hanukkah. That evening, each person can read his or her favorite part in a roundtable of fun!
DAY SIX: Tzedakah night
A few weeks before the holiday, each child will create a "tzedakah," or money, box. Parents can post a long list of chores, along with the monetary earnings for completed tasks. The goal, leading up to this evening, is for each child to earn as much "tzedakah" as possible. On the sixth night, children present the money. Parents may want to add funds to the general pot. With a family vote, a local charity is selected and the donation is made the following day.
DAY SEVEN: Gift exchange night
This is the evening to exchange all gifts between family members. By doing it all at once, rather than spreading it out over eight days, children won't spend the holiday focusing on gift accumulation. In addition to storebought purchases, you can initiate a family tradition where names are drawn and homemade gifts are presented to each person.
DAY EIGHT: "Mitzvot" night
The day's preparation begins first thing in the morning. Each family member is presented with a small notebook. The goal is keep track of all "mitzvot," or good deeds, done during the course of the day. The challenge? Good deeds count only if it goes unnoticed, reinforcing the joy in selfless giving. That evening, family members will enjoy hearing about each other's most rewarding "mitzvot"!