Santa Claus, jingle bells, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer... boring! If you're burnt out on Christmas but still want to get into the festive spirit, try the Jewish celebration Hannukah.
Hanukah celebrates the victory of Jewish warriors (the Maccabees) over King Antiochus 2500 years ago. When the Maccabees re-entered the Temple of Jerusalem, they only had a little bit of oil to light the Eternal Light. Miraculously, that tiny bit of oil kept the flame lit for eight days. This is why Hanukah lasts for eight days and the menorah (a nine branched candelabra) is an important symbol of the holiday.
The first step is to purchase a menorah. A menorah holds nine candles, with one candle lighting the other eight. One candle is lit each night for eight nights while prayers and blessings are spoken. Afterwards, everyone enjoys a Hanukah feast, enjoying dishes such as potato latkes, rugalach (rolled cookies), gefilte fish (poached fish patties) and sufganiyot (donuts without holes). Small gifts are exchanged each night.
Children enjoy playing driedel games. A driedel is a four sides spinning top, traditionally made from clay, with each side marked with a Hebrew symbol. You can make your own using an egg carton segment. See here for driedel game rules.
If you would like to know more about Hanukah and its rituals, you should seek out a rabbi at one of the temples and synagogues around Brisbane.