Growing up on a kibbutz, in a family with 8(!!!!) siblings in the 80's, Hanukkah was certainly one of the biggest high-lights (pun intended) of the year.
Every year my Imma would climb on a ladder to the attic and bring down the "Wonder Dreidel". The "Wonder Dreidel" was made out of a cardboard box and my Imma would hang it with a rope from the ceiling in the middle of our tiny living room. For eight days the Wonder Dreidel watched us. Every time we were a little naughty my Imma would say: "The wonder dreidel is watching!” and that was all it took for us to settle down.
Every evening we would light candles, sing, play, eat my Savta's latkes or my Abba's special tiny donuts and then gather around in a circle under the magic dreidel with anticipation…
We all held a blanket and started turning around in a circle, each one of us holding an edge and we all sang together:
Sevivon Sov Sov Sov / Chanuka Ou Chag Tov / Chanuka Ou Chag Tov / Sevivon Sov Sov Sov
After singing with all our hearts we would all stand and hold on to the blanket, gaze up to the dreidel and chant:
סביבון סביבון פלא, תן לנו הפתעות שכאלה - Dreidel, oh dreidel of wonders, give us our surprises
Then my Imma would pull the knot, and to our astonishment, the dreidel opened up and a gift would fall on the blanket.
Every night we got a different gift, I remember chocolates (sometimes even M&Ms from America!), I remember Lego and Playmobil and of course, the night that we all got socks :-)
In some mysterious, miraculous way, the magic dreidel was full every evening with a different gift. And when Hanukkah was over, my Imma would pull down the magic dreidel and place it safely in the attic until the next year.
After having my own kids, I continued to celebrate this tradition with them. We have our own Wonder Dreidel now and every year during Hanukkah comes and visits us.
For eight days, every night, he surprises us all with a different gift. My kids are all grown up now but still continue to enjoy this tradition (everyone likes surprises!). And every year they come to me and ask me to whisper to the dreidel that they already have enough socks :-)