A dreidel is a spinning top with four sides. Each side has a Hebrew letter on it. Dreidels are used during the December Jewish holiday, Hanukkah, to play a popular children's game.
The letters on the dreidel stand for the Hebrew words "Nes Gadol Haya Sham" which mean "a great miracle happened there." The miracle refers to the miracle of the Hanukkah oil, which lasted for eight days instead of one.
The Hanukkah dreidel game is like a game that was played during the time when Jews in ancient Greece were not allowed to practice their religion. When they came together to secretly study the Torah, they would bring a spinning top with them. If soldiers saw them, they would quickly hide what they were studying and pretend to be playing a gambling game with the top.
In the dreidel game, children spin the dreidel and bet on which Hebrew letter will show when the dreidel stops spinning. The prize is often a pot of "gelt," which are chocolate coins covered in gold wrap. If chocolate coins aren't available, any candy will do.