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Crafty kids: A gift for Hanukkah

Make your presents during this year's Festival of Lights extra-special with this handmade gift-holder.


THE HOLY BATTLE raged for three years. More than 2,300 years ago, the Jewish people of Judea (now called Israel) waged a war against the Syrian army rather than renounce their religion. The Syrian King Antiochus IV decreed that the Jews must change their beliefs and worship Greek gods. But the Jews, led by Judah Maccabee, would have none of it. After the Maccabees (as the Jewish army was called) prevailed, the Syrians were driven out of Jerusalem.

Today, the victory and the events that followed are celebrated as Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.

According to legend, the Jews reclaimed their temple and thoroughly cleaned it before rededicating it to God. When finished, the Maccabees wanted to light the eternal flame that shines in every Jewish house of worship. By custom, the light should never be extinguished. But they could find only enough oil to keep the lamp burning for one day. Miraculously, the lamp continued to burn for a full eight days.

Since then, Jews have celebrated the miracle each year during Hanukkah, which starts Wednesday and, like the lamp, lasts eight days. During this holiday, a candle on a menorah will be lit each night, and it has become customary for Jewish youngsters to receive a gift on each of the eight days.

You can make a gift can to hold the presents you want to give a loved one this Hanukkah with directions I found online.

Supplies you will need

* Clean food can, any size

* Blue craft paint

* Silver glitter

* Craft glue

* Hammer

* Nail

* Blue and silver ribbon

* Chenille stems, blue and white or silver

* Pattern for your decoration, such as a dreidel or Star of David

* Pencil

How to make it

Ask an adult to punch a hole in opposite sides of the can with a hammer and nail. Paint the can blue. Let dry and repeat, if necessary.

Make a pattern for your decorative symbol out of paper. Place the pattern in the center of the front of the can and lightly trace it onto the can.

Trace the outline of the symbol with the tip of the glue bottle. Pour the glitter onto the glue and shake off the excess glitter. Set the can aside to dry.

Twist the chenille stems together and attach from the outside of the can to the inside for a handle. Tie ribbons around the handle.