The celebration of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, stands as a symbol of gratefulness, gratitude and remembrance of a miracle. A miracle that gave light and hope to a group of people under siege, many years ago, as one small tin of oil, that should have lasted just one night, burned for eight whole days and nights. The way we celebrate today can also offer hope and shine a light in someone else’s life.
Here are eight compassionate and fun activity ideas for you and your family to enjoy this Hanukkah:
1. Feast in a vegan restaurant
Search for the closest/most recommended vegan restaurant in your area and go for a family meal. While you enjoy a vegan feast, you will also be supporting a vegan business!
2. Spend a family day volunteering in an animal shelter
Find a shelter close to your home and ask them if you and your family could come and volunteer for the day. You could help by playing with the kittens, taking out the dogs for a walk and feeding the animals. Your kids will learn what an impact they can make in someone’s life, the shelter will be happy to receive some help, and you will all get to enjoy a positive, bonding, family day.
3. Go on a compassionate shopping spree
Check which of your household products are either tested on animals or just not vegan. You can include things like personal hygiene and foods/condiments (anything from toothpaste to chocolate spread). Make a list of what you are running low on and then work as a team to find places that sell cruelty-free, vegan alternatives, either close to your home or online.
4. Visit a Sanctuary
A visit to your local animal sanctuary is not only a fun day out for the family, but also a highly educational experience – interact with animals and learn their stories in an environment which focuses on their needs, rather than using them for selfish entertainment as in petting farms and zoos.
5. Host a Hanukkah party/sanctuary fundraiser
Look online for an animal sanctuary that you and your family would like to support (or have visited), then invite your friends and family to a Hanukkah party/ fundraiser – you can inspire your guests by displaying images of the happy animals that survived the food industry and found a happy home at the sanctuary. This is a great opportunity to fundraise as you can encourage your guests to donate some of their Hanukka money (Hanukkah Gelt) to the sanctuary of your choice.
6. Be kind to birds: make a DIY bird feeder for your back yard
Why not take on a DIY project to help nurture the birds in your backyard? There are many fun and creative DIY bird feeder ideas that you and your children could prepare together, then sit back and enjoy seeing the birds feeding happily from your creation.
7. Throw a fun movie night with a positive message
A movie night can be highly educational as well as great fun. Choose a movie that has a fantastic message as well as being fun to watch. Try The Bee Movie with the loved vegetarian comedian Jerry Seinfeld, or The Lorax, or for older children/teenagers The Year of The Dog – they are great fun!
8. Cook a three course, vegan, family dinner
Get the kids involved in the kitchen by cooking together and creating a vegan family feast that you yourselves have planned and executed – there is so much choice with so many great recipe books and online recipes to try that you will be spoilt for choice. Teach the kids that cooking vegan is fun and the result is tasty!
Wishing you and yours a wonderful, compassionate Hanukkah, filled with happiness and light.