Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday celebrated sometime in November or December. Hanukkah is a great holiday to celebrate at work because it’s during the traditional holiday season—not only can you spread even more feelings of joy and cheer, it’s the perfect opportunity to ensure everyone feels included and welcomed.
Here you’ll find some ideas for celebrating Hanukkah at work, along with downloadable assets to make it easier than you think!
History of Hanukkah
This Jewish holiday has a long history, but in a nutshell, it’s about bringing light into the darkness through simple acts of goodness and kindness. It’s an eight-day festival that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem back in 164 BC.
From that time on, it’s been a joyous celebration of religious freedom, light, and family.
How to Celebrate Hanukkah at Work
While Hanukkah is a religious holiday, it lacks the focused reverence of other Jewish holidays such as Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur. This means it’s a great opportunity to celebrate diversity at work without the worry of being disrespectful.
Of course, you should still talk to any Jews at your company and ask their opinion on how to celebrate it in a tasteful, appropriate way. Once you’ve done so, here are some ideas.
Understand It Yourself and Educate the Company
Hanukkah is very different from Christmas or Thanksgiving, so lumping them together is one of the worst things you can do (especially because Hanukkah usually gets the short stick). Make an effort to differentiate it from the other holidays by learning as much as you can about the holiday from reputable sources and then educating the company about it.
For example, the menorah comes from the fact that after a small army of Jews (the Maccabees) fought off the persecuting Greeks, they found just enough oil to light the menorah in their temple for a single night. But instead of only burning for a night, the oil lasted for eight days and nights.
The history and traditions of Hanukkah are fascinating, and teaching the company more about it can spread inclusion and understanding.
Put Up Hanukkah Decorations
Don’t go straight from pumpkins and colored leaves to red and green tinsel and Christmas lights. Instead, put up Hanukkah-themed decorations, such as menorahs and dreidels. Blue and white are the colors of Hanukkah, so focus on those.
If possible and safe, set up a menorah lighting ceremony at your office for the eight days—this would be the perfect time to talk more about the history and meaning of the holiday.
Bring in Traditional Hanukkah Dishes
Holding a Hanukkah-themed potluck or lunch is a great way to celebrate the holiday. Who doesn’t like free food? Many traditional dishes, such as latkes or sufganiyot, are deep fried to represent the oil used to burn the menorah.
Offer PTO to Those Who Need It
Hanukkah isn’t a national holiday, so those who celebrate it either have to come into work or use their own PTO to do so. Instead of that, offer a few days of extra time off so that these employees can celebrate with their loved ones without any pressure.
Celebrate a Diverse Holiday Season
Not everyone celebrates Hanukkah in the exact same way—these are just suggestions to help you get started for your own Hanukkah celebration. Talk to your employees who celebrate to learn more and strive to spread inclusivity and understanding this year.
Download celebration kit.Download Kit
Get the most out of your celebrations!
Awardco was built to create a sense of belonging and loyalty in organizations by truly rewarding the best in people. We'd love to chat with you about doing exactly that.Talk with Awardco