Dreidel & Chocolate Coins…Let the Games Begin!


How to Play Dreidel

On a traditional dreidel, each side bears one letter from the Hebrew alphabet. Together, these letters stand for the phrase, “A great miracle happened here.” Played with during Hanukkah, this toy was originally modified from an English/Irish top that was brought to Germany. At the time, the top was known as a teetotum.

Later on, the toy was adopted from German letters to the Hebrew alphabet. Besides the interpretive symbolism, the letters also serve as a reminder as to how to play the game. Shin stands for “put in”, gimel means “whole or everything”, nun stands for “nothing” and hey means “half.” In Hebrew, a dreidel is often called a sevivon, which means “to turn around.”

What are the stakes?

Around the world, Jewish homes play with the dreidel as a part of a traditional Hanukkah ritual. Any number of people can take part in the game, so it is ideal for any family size. Each player in the game is given an equal number of game pieces. While pennies or coins are often used, the game is most often played with chocolate coins.

Rules of the Game

To start with, every player adds their ante to the pot. This will be won during the game. Whenever the pot is empty or has just one piece, each player adds another ante.

Dreidel rulesWhen it is your turn, you spin the dreidel once. Once it lands, you look at the letter on the side that it lands on. If you get a nun, you receive nothing. A gimel means that you receive everything that is in the pot. Meanwhile, a shin means that you have to put in a game piece in the pot. If you get a hey, you receive half of the pot. Whenever there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, you can take half of the pot plus an extra piece.

If you run out of chocolate coins or other game pieces, then you are out of the game. Depending on your family’s tradition, you may also be able to ask another player for a loan. Once someone has won the entire pot, then the round is over.

Popular Dreidel Traditions

While every family has different traditions, there are some that are common throughout the world. Today, many families choose to donate part or all of their winnings to charity. Some parents will also match the amount of money their children donate so that less fortunate families can have Hanukkah gifts.

During Hanukkah, it is also common for children to be given Hanukkah gelt (money). This tradition started in the 17th century by Jewish families in Poland. During the 20th century, American chocolatiers modified this tradition by creating Hanukkah chocolate coins. Wrapped in foil, these coins were given out to children during Hanukkah and were perfect for betting in dreidel. Today, many families use chocolate coins instead of actual money for playing dreidel.

How to Plan A Super Mario Party

Has there ever been a more adventurous pop culture hero than Super Mario? From his debut in the early ’80s on the Nintendo Entertainment System, all the way to the present day where he headlines the hottest next-gen games, this little Italian plumber has remained one of the most instantly identifiable and beloved figures in the world.

There’s a good chance your child is a huge fan and may want to have his or her own Super Mario birthday party. If this is the case, all you need to do is follow these simple steps to throw the best Super Mario party ever.

Decorating Ideas
• Posters that feature Mario and game play footage
• Toy plumbing tools
• Banners that spell out your child’s name and which wish them a “Super Mario Birthday!”
• Cardboard standees of Mario characters placed through the home
• Mario video game music playing in the background

These decoration ideas will immerse the children at the party fully into the experience and make it more fun and exciting for everyone involved.

Party Favors To Consider
No birthday party is complete without fun party favors. These favors are appropriate for Super Mario and can be purchased inexpensively at most party supply stores:

• Super Mario Caps – Mario’s costume can be spotted instantly by just about any child, and you can buy inexpensive red Mario caps and green Luigi hats.

• Plush Mario Toys – Inexpensive plush toys of Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Bowser, and the rest of the gang are readily available in most toy stores.

Mario chocolate coins• Super Mario Chocolate Coins – Mario loves collecting coins in just about every one of his games, and the kids at your party will love these delicious chocolate rewards.

These simple items will be fun for your child’s friends to play with at the party and to take home as a memento of the party. This is one party they’re sure to remember for years to come!

Food To Serve
Mario’s Italian heritage has made him a huge fan of a variety of foods, including spaghetti and other noodle dishes. However, there is one Italian dish that kids love above all others: pizza. Try creating a few delicious pizza pies to serve at the party. Lasagna is another great choice!

You could also scatter Super Mario chocolate coins around the tables in the party area.

Super Mario CakeAnd of course the cake should be shaped and decorated like Mario himself! Just make sure to save the biggest piece for the birthday boy or girl! Mario-themed cakes are a pretty popular item at most supermarkets and bakeries.

Play Some Mario Games
What Super Mario party would be complete without playing some of Mario’s adventurous games? Mario is a Nintendo exclusive so look for Wii titles or games made for Nintendo’s DS systems.

Costume Contest
Host a contest where each child dresses like their favorite character from the Super Mario Brothers universe. Create a panel of three or four judges to determine the winning costume.

It’s not too difficult to plan and execute a great Super Mario party. All you need to do is replace the items you’d normally include in a party with ones associated with Super Mario. Your Mario-obsessed child will love his or her super unique party!