As joyous and exciting as the holidays are, they can be a bit tricky in our household. As an interfaith family, we celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas, which is a thrill for the kids (more days to get presents!), but somewhat of a challenge for my husband and me as parents. It’s important to us that we expose Owen and Sasha to both of our religions and their associated holidays and traditions. The dicey part is balancing the two, especially during this time of year.
I know I’m stating the obvious when I say that Christmas is far more ubiquitous than Chanukah. Writing about holiday performances in the area a couple of weeks ago was a good indicator – out of 13 shows listed, only one, “Seasons of Light” at Discovery Theater, touches on the Festival of Lights.
But while Chanukah events may be fewer and farther between than Santa-focused activities, they are happening. And with the eight crazy nights (had to include props to Adam Sandler) starting in just over a week, I’ve compiled a list of where and when you can celebrate them.
Chanukah on the Elipse
Taking place on the first day of Chanukah, the National Menorah Lighting is sure to be a memorable start to the eight days of observance. Along with the illumination of the candles, guests will be treated to a special performance by reknowned violinist Itzhak Pearlman. The family celebration also includes music by Dreidelman and the Macabees, menorahs and dreidel kits, and latkes and donuts. The ceremony begins at 4pm on Wednesday, December 1. Tickets are free, but required – sign up on the website for a chance to receive them.
Chanukah on Ice
Celebrate the second night of Chanukah with a giant menorah lighting, holiday treats, raffles, and ice skating! The ice rink at Pentagon Row will be the sight of the family fun happening from 6pm – 8:30pm. Admission is $10 in advance, $12/door. Ice skate rentals are included, but food will be sold separately. Purchase advance tickets online. Pentagon Row is located at 1201 South Joyce Street in Arlington.
Shalom Sesame Chanukah Celebration
The JCC of Greater Washington is celebrating Chanukah on Saturday, December 4, with lots of latkes, loads of fun, and the premiere screening of “Chanukah: The Missing Menorah,” a new series from the creators of Sesame Street (see description below). The fun includes a Sesame moon bounce, candle making, face painting, and relay races. The will end with a raffle for tickets to Sesame Place: Where Sesame Street Comes Alive! The event takes place from 6pm – 7:30pm. Tickets are $7 per person (or family maximum $20) and can be purchased at the door. The JCC of Greater Washington is located at 6125 Montrose Road in Rockville.
“Chanukah: The Missing Menorah” finds Grover in a tizzy when his special friend gets caught in a game of tag with a chicken and loses her special menorah… just as Chanukah is about to begin! Can her friends find the missing menorah in time?
If you can’t make it to the Chanukah ice skating party at Pentagon Row or want to enjoy a little more holiday gliding, there will be more celebrating on ice in Silver Spring on Sunday, December 5. From 10am – 5:30pm, there will be all kinds of holiday activities – oil making, candle dipping, crafts, jewelry making, and more. Music and ice skating begins at 3:30 along with latkes, gelt and other treats. The early activities are free; the ice skating portion is $8. The event takes place at the new Silver Spring Civic Building at One Veteran’s Place.