In the Dreidel Cookies post, I mentioned a little card attached to the cookies dressed for a bake sale. I couldn’t bear the thought that the cookies, created with such intent, might get scarfed down without the scarfer understanding what they were scarfing. The card explained the name and meaning of each letter.
Same with the little dreidel/candy gifts we brought for my son’s class. (I did cave and add one piece of gelt to the dreidel, but I’m not sure I’ll do this next year. See “Hanukkah Parent Guidelines” post about such things.) I made a slightly different card for the dreidels:
The double-sided card, about the size of a business card, was tucked in with a new dreidel (from Target, surprisingly). It explains the 4 letters and the dreidel rules, plus the briefest of explanations about Hanukkah. Print a pdf of these cards here. Print, fold, glue, trim, attach.
(EDIT: see more detailed instructions about these tags at my newer post: Printable Dreidel Rules (gift tags)).
Despite my mentioning the use of “nuts, candy or coins” as tokens, one mom told me the next day how her son came home and wanted to play the dreidel game over and over with his brand new dreidel. They played so many games she ended up driving to Costco to buy a bunch of chocolate gelt for the “loot” (her term). While I am thrilled the little boy was thrilled with the dreidel game, I am less thrilled that boy and mom felt like chocolate money was a mandatory aspect of the game.
Again, here’s an opportunity to postpone what may be an inevitable perceived link between Jews and money. We can do this by downplaying the gelt and demonstrating the dreidel game using whatever tokens are appropriate for that group (obviously avoiding choking hazards for teeny kids and nuts for allergic kids).
The take-home message for kids and parents should be that Hanukkah is about miracles and light, not about how much gold you can win by gambling. Oy.