Hanukkah is a lighthearted festival filled with rich traditions, many of which include food, fun, family and friends. One of the best ways to welcome the holiday and connect with those who celebrate is by sending a gift or greeting card. Below, we’re sharing some fitting ideas of what to write in a Hanukkah card. These messages are organized by category, but you can mix and match to create one that feels just right.
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Hanukkah, meaning “dedication,” is an eight-day wintertime celebration during which Jews commemorate a miracle that occurred more than 2,000 years ago.
At that time, Syrian-Greek leaders had banned the practice of Judaism and subsequently destroyed the Jews’ temples. A group of 40 Jews known as the Maccabees decided to rebel and rose up to defeat a Syrian army of 40,000. After the dust settled, the Jews rushed to rededicate their ruined temple in Jerusalem by lighting a menorah, or candelabrum. In the vast destruction, however, they found only enough oil to last one day. The miracle of Hanukkah is that the oil burned brightly not for one night, but eight full days—exactly the length of time necessary to produce more oil. Hanukkah primarily celebrates the miracle of the burning oil, not the act of war.
During this Festival of Lights, families light the menorah, recite blessings and enjoy symbolic games like dreidel (a spinning top) and foods like latkes (potato pancakes) or sufganiyah (jelly-filled donuts).
Although gifts are often exchanged, Hanukkah is not “the Jewish Christmas.” It’s also not the most important holiday on the Jewish calendar: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover are among the more significant Jewish holidays.
Today Hanukkah is a reminder that it’s up to each of us to be a light in the darkness, and even a little light can go a long way.
Find more ideas for celebrating Hanukkah here.
Share these expressions, whether as a main message or closing signoff, with anyone who celebrates Hanukkah. You’re sure to earn bonus points if you include a traditional Hebrew greeting!
- “Wishing your family peace and light this holiday season.”
- “Thinking of you during this season of miracles.”
- “Here’s to a bright and meaningful Hanukkah.”
- “Sending love your way during the Festival of Lights.”
- “Happy Hanukkah!”
- “Hanukkah Sameach!” (meaning, “Happy Hanukkah!”)
- “Chag Sameach!” (meaning, “Happy Holiday!”)
- “Chag Urim Sameach!” (meaning, “Happy Festival of Lights!”)
At Hanukkah, families are reminded of where they first learned the traditions of their faith and the significance of carrying these customs forward. Here are some meaningful ways to share gratitude and joy with the ones who raised us.
- “Hanukkah reminds us where we came from. What a blessing it is to call you ‘family.’”
- “Thank you for teaching us the meaning of Hanukkah.”
- “Of all you’ve passed down to our family, love is my favorite tradition.”
- “At Hanukkah, we’re reminded of what matters most, and in our family, that’s you.”
- “Dreidel champions run in our family! Have a fun Hanukkah.”
- “Parents/Grandparents are a light that keeps their families shining bright.”
For many children, the first time lighting the menorah is a very special experience. Kids are also introduced to the holiday with symbolic games, foods and stories. Lighthearted humor makes it easy to connect with a child who’s learning the traditions of Hanukkah.
- “Wishing eight special nights for one very special kid.”
- “Your awesomeness shines as brightly as a menorah!”
- “Have so much fun that the season leaves your head spinning like a dreidel!”
- “Dreidel champions, unite! Wishing you fun this Hanukkah.”
- “Festive and fun? Sounds like Hanukkah…and you!”
Whether playful or heartfelt, these are some easy phrases that share Hanukkah love with the whole family.
- “Hope your Hanukkah’s great…times eight!”
- “Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy Hanukkah and new year.”
- “Thinking of you as we celebrate a season of miracles.”
There’s lots of room for whimsy when it comes to celebrating Hanukkah. Bring on the “pun” and share some fun with these smile-making sentiments.
- “Here’s to winning every game of dreidel and eating the last latke.”
- “Wishing you a LATKE fun this Hanukkah!”
- “Wishing you lots of love, hugs…and gelt!” (Gelt means chocolate coins!)
For families who share multiple traditions, the expressions below celebrate and honor the inclusive home they’ve created.
- “Thinking of your family as you celebrate a season full of traditions!”
- “Wishing you a season full of light and love.”
- “Sending holiday hugs during this meaningful time of year.”
- “So many holidays, so little time! Wishing your family a beautiful season of celebration.”
Helpful Tip: Each family is different. Some interfaith families delight in the merging of their respective holidays with fun references to “Chrismukkah” or a “Hanukkah bush.” Other families prefer to separate the traditions. If you don’t know the family’s particular approach, there are some easy ways to share your holiday joy without getting too specific.
Hanukkah is a season of miracles, after all, and speaking to the blessings received and to come is a lovely way to honor the holiday.
- “May your Hanukkah be filled with unexpected blessings.”
- “Wishing you a season of peace.”
- “This time of hope reminds us of our resilience. Wishing you blessings in the year ahead.”
- “In a season of blessings, you’re one of mine.”
Sometimes we want to add a more personal touch. These notes offer a stronger connection between the meaning of Hanukkah and your relationship with the recipient.
- “As you light the menorah, know that your friendship is a light to our family, too.”
- “Wishing you a meaningful Hanukkah and a peaceful new year. You mean so much to me.”
- “During this season of remembrance, I hope you never forget how much you’re loved.”
If you’d like to craft your own message, consider including one of these meaningful phrases:
- Light in the darkness
- Festival of Lights
Helpful Tip: You’ve likely seen up to 20 variations of the spelling of the holiday. This is because there’s no simple transliteration from Hebrew to English. The most common spelling is “Hanukkah,” and the most traditional spelling is “Chanukah.” Both are correct.