The holiday season: a time for relaxation, drinking hot cocoa and enjoying time with family and friends. However, this year Hanukkah is the week before final exams at Cal Poly and it may be difficult to find time for a proper celebration — especially in the dorms. Not sure where you can light candles, sing prayers or get a full Hanukkah meal that (at least sort of) tastes like home? Here's some helpful tips for the holiday while at Cal Poly. 

Community Celebration

Hanukkah menorah

skpy on Flickr

Hanukkah is a holiday that is built on tradition: lighting the menorah each night, eating delicious foods such as sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) and latkes (potato pancakes), and singing songs with friends and family. If you are in need of a second family to celebrate with, join the Jewish community of San Luis Obispo. They hold a candle lighting ceremony outside the steps of Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa at 5 p.m. each night of Hanukkah. Sponsored by the Jewish Federation of SLO, there will be games, sweet treats, singing and menorah making. 

Getting the Goods

Candles, hanukkah, table and glass HD photo by Element5 Digital (@element5digital) on Unsplash

Unsplash on unsplash

Usually you might be used to spending Hanukkah at home with your parents supplying all the necessary products, so it's natural to feel unequipped to properly celebrate away at college. Luckily, there is now an easy, college approved way to stock up on everything you need. 

You (or a generous parent) can order Hanukkah care packages meant for college students. These packages include a Menorah with candles and matches (for use outside the dorm), a set of dreidels and chocolate candies. Or, if you are more food-oriented, you can look to Dorm Smart. You can order a Hanukkah cookie bouquet, a "Happy Hanukkah" cookie tin with assorted cookies or dreidel cake pops. These packages can be delivered right to your door and will help you quickly get into the holiday spirit.

Dorm-Friendly Hanukkah Treat

Brown paper gift photo by Annie Spratt (@anniespratt) on Unsplash

Unsplash on unsplash

You can still satisfy your holiday sweet cravings even without home cooking. For an easy and delicious dorm-friendly treat try making microwavable sufganyiot or jelly-doughnuts. This recipe is adapted from Big Boulder Baking's "mugnuts" and are a perfect way to get into the Hanukkah spirit in your home away from home. 

Microwavable Jelly-Doughnuts in a Mug

Prep Time: 5 mins

Cook Time: 1 min

Total Time: 6 mins

Serving: 1 


1 3/4 tablespoons vegetable oil 

4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or a little more to balance out all the liquids)

4 teaspoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons banana

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, nutmeg, or any spice you like

1 tablespoon of any jam

Garnish (cinnamon sugar, greek yogurt, anything)


1) Mix all ingredients in a microwave-safe mug with a fork until blended. 

2) Place a spoonful of jam down into the mixture to make a jelly-filled center.

3) Microwave for 30-45 seconds or until firm on top. Just make sure to keep an eye out so it doesn't overflow.

4) Garnish and eat right away

Happy Hanukkah!

So whether you want to create a better holiday in the dorms or you want to build a new community, there are simple ways to get the most out of Hanukkah while away from home. Also, if you're unsure where to start, you can always go to Chabad or Hillel on campus. It's a quick way to meet new people, share experiences and get free food. Happy Hanukkah!