I have sooooooo much to tell you all! There are so many new and exciting games for this year!

But, first let’s take a step back and answer all your CHALYMPIC questions. 


The CHALYMPICS is an 8 day long, 7 event series we partake in every year of Chanukah. Well, actually this only our second year, but it’s definitely something we plan to grow old with!

Every night, after we light the menorah, instead of opening presents, we set up a game, using inexpensive materials that are easily purchased or that are already lying around the house, and all the kids compete. 

Like the real Olympics, we start off with a torch lighting ceremony, the winners stand on appropriate leveled chairs and receive their award at the end of each night, and of course we end the games with another torch lighting ceremony. 

Through out the 8 days, we keep track of the winners on a giant score card and at the end of the CHALYMPICS there is a final champion who wins the ultimate prize…BRAGGING RIGHTS!


Every year Eli and I go out a few weeks before Chanukah to discuss the upcoming gift situation. Do we buy a gift for every child for every night? Do we buy one big group kid? Do we give each child a big gift and then a few small prizes? We ask ourselves the same questions every year and we always end with the same one…

How do we make this holiday about more than just the gifts?

Just to back track a few years, a friend told us about this game she plays with her kids every year on Chanukah. It’s a life size memory game (more about that in the games portion of this post!). 

In an attempt to make the holiday about more then presents we adopted this game into our first night of Chanukah routine and it was a huge success. Our kids had a blast, we loved watching them and, bonus, the whole game cost us 24 shekel! 

Little did we know when we started this 4 years ago that this game would become the highlight of our children entire Chanukah. It’s literally all they spoke about in the previous months. 

So, last year when we went out to figure out their gifts, we looked at each other and realized the answer to all our questions was right there in from of us! 


The kids certainly could not remember what gifts they got the year before, but they remembered every detail of our live memory game. And not because of those silly shekel prizes they earned! Because, we did it as a family and we had fun!

So we came up with a game for every night. Then, true to our natures, mine abeing a super competitive game lover and Eli’s being an organized sports obsessed male, we created the CHALYMPICS!


Eli, being the more cool head, way less impulsive and more calculated half of our marriage, pointed out that the games had to have completely impartial winners. 

Meaning, we, as the parents, could not have any say in choosing who came in first, second or third place. The winner had to be determined by the objective rules of the event. Whether it’s a time event (who did …. the fastest), or a quantity based event (who collected…..the most), we would merely be there to cheer them on. 

This prevented any child from feeling like they weren’t “chosen” to win. It also made losing very easy to explain. Instead of saying, well I like her cupcake better, all we had to say was “Oh man, I really though you had it. It’s ok. Today he\she was faster but don’t worry, theres always tomorrow/ next year.”

Another key factor we look at when coming up with games is are they fun? I know it sounds crazy. All games are fun. Really though, some are funner than others and what we’ve found is that the sillier the games are the more fun they are for everyone. 

We choose games that are more physically involved because as it is kids today spend way too much time sitting behind desks and we try to choose games that are gender neutral. 

Every parent knows their children best though, and even though its easy to just to play the exact same games we play it might be fun to do a few minutes of googling or Pinterest to find games that are more suitable to your kids! 

Here’s a few tips if you down to come up wth your own games:

-Choosing games that have winners that you do NOT have to select is key in making sure your children don’t feel bad if they do not win. (We don’t believe in “Everyone’s” a winner because it’s just not real life and also, like I said, I’m super competitive.)

-Try to arrange the order of the games to fit your lifestyle. (I choose a game that needs almost no advance preparation for Saturday night this way we are not rushed.) 

-Keep the games interesting by alternating between nights with games where everyone competes at the same time vs games where only one player competes at a time

-Don’t choose games that will stress you out. For example, if you don’t like fingerprints on your walls (ahem, Dad) don’t choose a game where they have to lean or touch the wall. 

– Most importantly, make sure that you are enjoying yourself. The more fun you are having the more fun your kids will have. Guaranteed!

Of course, if you do come up with other games let us know! We’re always on the look out for new ones!!!

Now, on to the technical portion of this post. 

How do we make this all happen?

There are four easy steps to bringing the CHALYMPICS to life and making them awesome.

  1. Make a score board
  2. Help your kids create their own “torches” (or just buy a few extra havdalah-like candles!)
  3. Come up with 7 games (Like HASHEM, the Chalympics rest on shabbos) and make sure you have everything you need in your house.
  4. Download Olympic music on your phone. (opening ceremony, medal ceremony, national anthem and closing ceremony) 

Since there is so much to tell you about the first three steps (google for step 4, or iTunes) Im going to make each one of those steps it’s own blog posts!

I really, really hope you all enjoy this years and can’t wait to see you what you all come up with!

In case you need a little visual inspiration, heres a few videos of what the CHALYMPICS looked like last year!

(To see all of last years videos, click on the YouTube logo in the bottom right hand corner of the video. It will bring you to the CHALYMPICS 2016 playlist on my YouTube channel!)