Chanukah, the festival of lights, traditionally celebrated in the cozy company of dear family and close friends. Chanukah, when we gather ‘round the menorah and share stories of strength and survival. Chanukah, when we celebrate the miraculous victory of the few over the many, the G‑dly over the profane, and the weak over the mighty.

For many, this Chanukah will be like no other, celebrated in isolation, either alone or only with close family members. Yet Chanukah is a time of miracles, when we remind ourselves and the world that G‑d is present in our lives, that miracles happen, and that anything is possible.

Ready to make this Chanukah the most memorable, festive, and spiritually uplifting ever? Read on to discover our top tips for an amazing Chanukah at home.

1. Light the Menorah Each Night

Even if you will be the only one to witness it, it’s a mitzvah to light the menorah every night of Chanukah. If you have a hard time getting out, be sure to order candles (or oil and wicks) in advance, so that you can bring the light of Chanukah into your home, chasing away any gloominess you may be feeling. But beyond fuzzy feelings, the menorah is an actual mitzvah, which must be performed in a specific manner (the time and place matter, as does the fact that you need to use real flames, not electricity).

Read: How to Light the Menorah

2. Stop and Think!

That’s right, we are sometimes so busy running to Chanukah parties or preparing to host and bring Chanukah joy to others, that we barely find time to contemplate the candles and the message they impart. In the words of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak, the sixth Chabad rebbe, “We must listen to what the flames tell us,” and think deeply into the story of Chanukah, the sacrifices our ancestors made to preserve Judaism, and the miracles G‑d performed—and still performs—for us.

With the extra time our seclusion has afforded us, let’s focus on these messages and how they apply to us today.

Read: Essays for You to Contemplate

3. Fry Up Some Delicious Latkes

There is a centuries-old custom of frying (and eating!) foods such as doughnuts or latkes, pancakes of cheese or potato. They remind us of the miracle of Chanukah, in which a small quantity of oil, enough for just 24 hours, lasted for a full eight days. Not used to cooking in small quantities? No problem. Make extra, pack up the surplus, and drop off your greasy goodies on the doorsteps of fellow quarantiners.

Read: 17 Recipes to Make this Chanukah

4. Invite Friends to Zoom Parties

Aside from Shabbat, the rest of Chanukah we are free to enjoy the gift of wireless technology. So be sure to schedule some virtual zoom celebrations with loved ones and friends. Book your calendar in advance, and see if you can spread out the joy over the course of the 8-day holiday.

Pro tip #1: Add a tangible element to your shared celebration by having some Chanukah goodies delivered to your “guests.”

Pro tip #2: If everyone has a dreidel at home, you can play a long distance game, with someone keeping tally on the whiteboard.

Pro tip #3: Read a Chanukah story aloud, to add some inspiration to the socialization.

5. Join (or Organize) a Car-Top Menorah Parade

A beautiful new iteration of the age-old imperative to spread the Chanukah message to the masses is the car-top menorah parade, where people with menorahs attached to their cars drive around, spreading awareness, good cheer, and hope.

Since you can do this from the safety of your closed car, this is the ultimate socially distanced Jewish ritual. Call your local Chabad to join their parade. If there isn’t one, go online, order a menorah, create an online event for people to sign up, and start your own.

Read: History of the Car-Top Menorah

6. Make Shabbat Chanukah Special

Celebrated for eight days, every Chanukah contains (at least one) Shabbat. Although we do not kindle the menorah on Shabbat (taking care to light it on Friday afternoon before kindling Shabbat candles, and then again on Saturday night after the holy day has ended), Shabbat Chanukah is a special time. Make this Shabbat more festive by adding something special to your menu, printing up extra Torah thoughts to read during the long, quiet evening, and singing Hallel (Psalms of praise we say every morning of Chanukah) aloud with extra fervor and joy.

Read: The Beauty of Shabbat Chanukah

7. Learn Extra Torah

On Chanukah we celebrate our victory over the Syrian Greek interlopers, who wished to squelch the study of “G‑d’s Torah,” although they were more than fine with those who wished to read the Jewish texts in the name of intellectual curiosity or research. Got some extra time on your hands? Log onto (OK, you are here already), pull a Jewish book off the shelf, call a study-buddy, and learn the very Torah that the Greeks wanted us to relegate to the dusty back of the library.

Listen: Some Great Chanukah Classes to Get You Going

8. Make a Chanukah Craft

The isolation of the last nine months has given birth to a burst of creativity, as people learned to paint, bake, craft, and draw their worries away. Even before the holiday begins, get into the spirit by creating unique Chanakah art to decorate your home. Paintings, dreidels, and even menorahs can all be made at home.

Watch: How to Make a Little Dreidel out of Clay

Print: Chanukah Coloring Sheets

9. Give Extra Charity

Did you ever notice that two major Chanukah customs, giving gelt and playing dreidel, both mean that our kids receive some extra cash? There’s a good reason for this. The infusion of funds allows our children (and us) to give extra charity (tzedakah) to those in need. During the events of Chanukah, the Greeks confiscated money from charity funds, and we celebrate by giving even more than usual, an act that refines the soul, symbolized by the light-giving menorah.

Give extra charity each day of Chanukah, depositing the share for Shabbat on Friday afternoon.

If you have a physical pushke (charity box) at home, put the coins or bills there. If not, you can donate online to the deserving destination of your choice.

Read: 15 Facts About Tzedakah Every Jew Should Know

10. Tell (or Read) Heartwarming Stories

Chanukah is the season of miracles—the ideal time to read inspiring stories of Chanukahs past and of G‑d’s miraculous presence in our lives, “in those days [and] in this time.” If you are with someone else, take turns reading stories to each other. If you are alone, read them to yourself or call a friend to join you.

Read: Dozens of Chanukah Stories

11. Play Chanukah Music

The Code of Jewish Law tells us that it is appropriate to make our meals on Chanukah a bit more lavish and to use the time to praise G‑d for His kindness. One way to do this is to sing songs of praise. From the dreidel song to ‘Oh Chanukah,’ Chanukah music has a way of warming the heart and bringing light to the darkest of evenings.

Browse: Dozens of Chanukah Songs

12. Play Dreidel

With just a small plastic spinning top and a pile of coins, nuts, beans or the token of your choice, you can play a fun or competitive round of dreidel, the traditional Chanukah pastime.

If you are alone, you can play against the house. To do so, you need to modify the gimmel and hei to win you a smaller amount than normal, so that the game does not end immediately after you get your first gimmel. Feel free to fiddle with the amounts and have fun with this one. And if you are with others, invite everyone for a grand tournament.

Read: How to Play Dreidel