Hannukkah, the Festival of Lights, begins on Dec. 24th, which is also Christmas Eve. Whether you are lighting a Menorah or waiting for Santa, these Hanukkah events, both family-friendly and for grownups only, begin this weekend. As always, nothing on the NYC on the Cheap list is more than $20.
Sunday, Dec. 18
Chanukah Festival – You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this family-friendly event with crafts workshops including menorah building, making edible dreidels, and more. Performances are by Wondergy – Cool Science Show, The Shababa Sparks, 92Y’s Israeli Folk Dance troop featuring “ A Gift of Light”. All activities are in both in Hebrew and English co-led by the Israeli Scouts-Tzofim and will include, menorah building, edible dreidels, holiday card making, At the 92nd St. Y, starting at 11am. Ticketed event. Tickets are $12 and $18, with no service charge
Hanukkah Family Festival – Kids can design menorahs and dreidls and create holiday cards at drop-in crafts workshops, Popular kid rocker Shira Kline performs a musical re-enactment of the Hanukkah story, full of heroes, drama, and miracles, including such tunes as “Chanukah Bamba,” “This Little Light of Mine,” plus a performance of the story of Hanukkay by storyteller and illustrator Jeff Hopkins, using live drawing, animation, and narration with sound and movement. Noon to 4pm at the Jewish Museum, Fifth Ave. at 92nd St. Free with museum admission.
Latkepalooza – Play dreidel, decorate menorahs, nosh on latkes and jelly donuts, sing along to favorite Hanukkah songs, and watch an original play based on the PJ Library story, Eric A. Kimmel’s ,’The Golem’s Latkes.’Get ready for the Festival of Lights with food, music, and hands-on activities. 10am to 1pm, for families with children ages 3 to 10. At the Museum of Jewish Heritage, just west of Battery Park. Tickets re $10 and include museum admission.
Daily, Sat., Dec. 24th to Sat., Dec. 31st
World’s Largest Menorah – Join the nightly lighting ceremonies at the 32-foot-high, gold-colored, 4,000-pound steel holiday icon, at the Grand Army Plaza of Central Park, better known as the area between the front of the The Plaza hotel and the Apple store on the other side of Fifth Avenue. Lightings are at sunset, around 5:30pm, although it’s earlier on Friday (3:30pm) before the Sabbath, and later on Saturday (after the Sabbath).
Largest Menorah – Also 32 feet tall, and equally impressive, but not in the Guiness World Records, so it is just called “largest” not “world’s largest”. Lighting times are the same. In addition to singing and dancing, on the first night there will be free hot latkes. At Grand Army Plaza, Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Sponsored by Chabad Park Slope
Sunday, Dec. 25th
SEE ALSO Article by NYCONTHECHEAP editor Evelyn Kanter for Orbitz about what to do in NYC on Christmas Day and where to eat nearby.
A Rocking Chanukah Celebration with Naomi Less and Her Band – Celebrate Hanukkah like a rock star, with the “Any Way You Light It” concert by a half-Israeli, half-American band. This is a family-friendly, interactive, sing-out-loud brunch show that includes storytelling, crafts, games and other activities in additon to the music. Kids are encouraged to come dressed as a rock star. 11am to 2pm at City Winery, 155 Varick St.at Canal St. Tickets are $18. Purchase online.
Kids and Yiddish – This popular family show is described as SNL meets Sesame Street. Music and dance for families with children ages 4 and up. 11am at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Lower Manhattan. Tickets are $10 for kids, $20 for adults .
Hanukkah Holiday Celebration – Take a tour of the historic Eldridge Street Museum, participate in a scavenger hunt, create crafts inspired by Chanukah cards featured in the Blavatnik Archive. Then watch His People, a 1925 silent flick about the Lower East Side immigrant experience accompanied with live music by saxophonist Paul Shapiro and his sextet. The Hanukkah celebration ends with a traditional Menorah lighting ceremony. Noon to 5pm at the Museum at Eldridge Street, 12 Eldridge Street. Get tickets online directly from the museum, with no service charge. Tickets: $14/ adults; $10/students & seniors, $6/kids
Monday, Dec. 26th
Tuesday, Dec. 27th
Hanukkah on Ice – Skating plus live music, Hanukkah treats and a giant Ice Menorah. 4pm to 7pm at the Lasker Rink n Central Park, 110th St. and Lenox Ave. (the 2 and 3 subway stops across the street from the entrance. This annual event often sells out, so get tickets now. Tickets: Online: $25/with skate rental; $18/without skate rental; free for children under 3; at door: $28 with skate rental/$20 without