For Hanukkah, enjoy this classic tradition with friends and family—even those afar.

little girl plays with dreidels on Hanukkah
Credit: Rafael Ben-Ari / Getty Images

In all likelihood, Hanukkah will be different this year. Most of us will not be able to visit our families in person as social distancing becomes more important than ever during the pandemic, so meeting with loved ones virtually is the best way to be together safely. As such, you can still play a game of dreidel this holiday season. "This year, playing dreidel will not involve playing with a large group," says Seri Kertzner, chief party officer at Little Miss Party Planner. "To keep things exciting and still play with all your friends, grab your dreidels and meet online." Here, we asked Kertzner for her tips on how to play a game of virtual dreidel.

Plan the logistics ahead of time.

To get the most out of this game over distance, plan it ahead of time. "Discuss with your friends or family in advance to set an amount that you're going to play with. Normally, you would play with coins or treats. Say you have four families and want to play with a limit of $20 so each family contributes five dollars," says Kertzner. "You can choose a charity to donate this money to or you can pick an e-gift card that the winner can receive when the game is over (or do both)."

Everyone who participates in the game will need to have their pen and paper handy to keep track of points, or if you have a virtual note app like OneNote or whiteboard like Miro that you can share with all game participants. You will also need to decide on a video chatting or conferencing app, like Google Duo, Facebook Portal, or Zoom, that everyone can join for the game. Each person could have their own dreidel to spin or a designated person who does not have a stake in the game could be the one who spins the dreidel for each player. When someone takes their turn, they would make sure to point their camera at the dreidel as it spins so that everyone can see how it lands.

Lastly, you want to make sure to set the order of the spins. You are not sitting in a circle so it is necessary to determine the player order ahead of time. That way, everyone knows when it is their turn and who goes next.

Set the game rules.

Now, set the rules for the game. "Set a points limit to end the game," suggests Kertzner. "[For example,] first person to 25 points wins!" Otherwise, the game could go on forever. Points will be accumulated like so: If נ (nun) is facing up, the player does nothing; no points and the next person in line spins their dreidel. If ג (gimmel) is facing up, the player earns five points. "Write this down on your piece of paper," as she notes, then the next person spins. If ה (hey) is facing up, the player earns two points, then the next person spins. If ש (SHIN) is facing up, the player earns one point, then the next person spins. At the end of the game, everyone can share the points that they have accumulated. The virtual whiteboard could also show each player's points if one was used during the game. Then, you can determine the winner of the game.

Make it a virtual party.

You can also make the virtual game of dreidel a party! "Brighten your friends and family members with our Hanukkah Party in a Box ($55, Ship to them in advance and let them know about your plans for your virtual celebration by including the notes in a card when you place your order," say Kertzner. "You can make latkes together, play dreidel, and light the menorah with a festive party set up in your very own home. Nothing will make the recipient happier to receive this special surprise this year that we cannot gather together."


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