I had a little dreidel, I made it out of clay, but then I had nothing to do with it except play this fairly boring game.
Breaking out the dreidel on Hanukkah is as much a part of the holiday as frying up the latkes, but that doesn't mean it is very fun. If you've never played the game, the idea is to spin a wooden top (I've never seen a clay one personally), which has four Hebrew symbols painted on it. Each symbol, aside from forming an acronym, represents the rules for game play.
According to Wikipedia, the game is played as follows:
Each player begins with an equal number of game pieces. The game pieces can be any object, such as chocolate gelt, pennies, or raisins. At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center "pot". In addition, every time the pot is empty and sometimes if it has one game piece left, every player puts one in the pot.
Each player spins the dreidel once during their turn. Depending on which player side is facing up when it stops spinning, they give or take game pieces from the pot: a) If נ (nun) is facing up, the player does nothing. b) If ג (gimel) is facing up, the player gets everything in the pot. c) If ה (hei) is facing up, the player gets half of the pieces in the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes the half the pot rounded up to the nearest whole number) d) If ש (shin) or פ (pei) is facing up, the player adds a game piece to the pot.
And if that didn't help you, playing dreidel is basically gambling with a wooden top.
As a young child growing up in the 1980s, winning pennies was awesome because pennies could still buy things. In 2011, we tend to think kids would scoff at such a concept. Do children today gamble with Facebook friends? Cell phones? Apps? Do children even play dreidel anymore? There must still be a market for dreidels since we saw them at Target the other day, but maybe the dreidel is in need of a makeover. So, we sat down and thought of eight other things you can do with a dreidel. 8. Electrical Outlet Safety Cap
Since we are assuming that children have no interest in this game anymore, they won't be tempted to try and pull the dreidel out of the plug and replace it with their fingers. Hopefully, the dreidel doesn't catch fire.
7. Hebrew-Up Your Dungeons & Dragons Game The dreidel is essentially a d4 that can be used in the same manner as any other DnD dice. Will it assist better in a magic missile or searing light spell? Who knows. Maybe there is a whole new clan of Jewish wizards that are just waiting to be untapped during your next DnD game. The possibilities are as open as your mind, or as much as your Dungeon Master allows. 6. Fancy Hors d'Oeuvres Sticks
Your Hanukkah party just got fun (not saying that it wasn't before)! Serving cheese cubes, olives, mini latkes? Ditch those boring old toothpicks and have your guests stab their pineapple chunks with dreidels. Maybe not the most practical way to eat food, but certainly an icebreaker.
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5. As a Towel Rack
Jam a few dreidels into your bathroom wall and all of a sudden you have a unique and nifty towel rack. 4. As a Totally Cute Pair of Earrings This time of year is oversaturated with Christmas cardigans and homemade wreath pins with blinking lights that sing Jingle Bells. Fight craft with craft! Turn your dreidels into a stunning pair of dangly earrings. Get yourself some sparkle puff paint and go to town. Christmas jewelry, beware. 3. As a Drinking Game Playing dreidel is already halfway to illegal, so you might as well sully it up even more. When you land on shin, you do a shot, when you land on hei, you drink half a glass of Manischewitz, and so on. It's not the most exciting drinking game...at first. After a few rounds, "drinking dreidel" will prove to be the greatest way you ever spent Hanukkah.
2. To Kill A Vampire If the Scooby Gang on Buffy the Vampire Slayer can dust a vamp with a pencil, why not a wooden dreidel? We can already see this being played out in the upcoming movie we just made up entitled Nazi Vampire Hunter. Sam Raimi, you are welcome. 1. To Get Last Year's Candle Gunk Out Of Your Menorah
It happens every year, you pull out the Menorah only to realize that you never cleaned out the candle wax from last year's eight-day party. Cleaning out Menorah wax from the previous Hanukkah is like not properly winding up the Christmas lights -- a total nightmare. We can't imagine how many innocent knives are ruined every year from digging into the menorah sockets. Problem solved! Use your dreidel stem to hollow out the waxy remnants and save your good knives for cutting brisket.