Written by Spotloan

From activities and eats to decor and gifts, holiday spending can get hefty. According to The National Retail Federation, this year’s holiday sales will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent from last year, landing between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.

On an individual level, they estimate that American consumers plan to spend an average of $997.73 on gifts, holiday items, and other non-gift purchases. But for many of us, this may feel like too high a price to pay. 

So, what happens when you want to celebrate without breaking the bank? Making your Hanukkah extra special on a limited budget is easy when you follow our how-to guide. From November 28 through December 6, 2021, there’s plenty of room for festive and budget-friendly activities, traditions, meals, and memories-in-the-making.

Tweak the Traditional Hanukkah Celebration

Hanukkah is a holiday and celebration of light and joy. Lighting the menorah, playing the dreidel game, and singing traditional songs are staples in this eight-day celebration. And we have some suggestions for adding more traditions to your list without spending too much, starting with making your own menorah.  

On this affordable DIY Hanukkah list, you will also find instructions to make: 

  • A wooden Star of David
  • A banner with eggshell mosaic stars and dreidels 
  • Tin can luminaries
  • Felt Hanukkah coasters
  • Tinfoil Hanukkah cards
  • A gold gelt garland 

Turn on some music or a movie, break out your craft kits, and get creative. 

Teach Your Little Ones the Importance of Serving Others this Hanukkah Season

The last few months of the year are all about sharing, caring, and spreading joy. We recommend making room in any holiday celebration to focus on gratitude. And giving back throughout the season is a great way to do so. 

Whether that means organizing a holiday food drive or donating some DIY Hanukkah decorations to a local shelter or senior center, there are few things that bring families closer together than spreading holiday cheer. 

And setting a good example early and often helps our children see the bigger picture, teaching them the importance of connection and community. 

Cook Meaningful Hanukkah-Inspired Meals 

Cooking traditional meals at home can be a great way to spend time together and feel closer to each other and our heritage. Some of the most traditional Hanukkah foods include latkes, brisket, and matzo ball soup. 

And we all know that food tastes better when there’s family involved. This year, consider hosting a potluck get-together rather than making everything on your own. Ask everyone to bring something different, or have multiples of the favorites to see who has developed the best recipe. 

After, for a fun DIY dessert kids of all ages can get in on, try your hand at making delicious candy dreidels or sufganiyot - jelly doughnuts. Cooking together creates closer bonds and makes for many memorable moments. 

Cap off the night with a puzzle or a movie for a well-rounded and memorable day. 

Dive Deep Into the Hanukkah’s History 

Visiting historical sites and museums is a great way to learn more about the history of Hanukkah. Plus, they’re generally some of the most affordable places to visit and spend a few hours or sometimes even more. 

Many museums and historical sites offer low-cost day passes and free entry for kids under a certain age. Call local museums or check their websites to find their costs. If you speak to someone directly, be sure to ask about age, student, and weekday discounts. 

A favorite for this particular holiday, The Jewish Museum features nearly 30,000 works of art, media, and ceremonial objects. The building itself is located in New York City, but they offer virtual tours that allow you to travel through 4,000 years of art and Jewish culture from the comfort of your couch. Their exhibitions, programs, and collections are unparalleled. 

While the virtual tours can be pretty pricey, they include admission for up to 100 guests. Inviting friends or family members to take the virtual tour with you can help make it more cost-effective for everyone while you watch, listen, and learn about this important holiday and culture.