Hanukkah Gift Ideas

Hanukkah (more traditionally known as “Chanukah”) is an important religious holiday in the Jewish faith. It celebrates an event in 165 B.C. in which a small group of Jews took back Jerusalem from a Syrian tyrant. The celebration of Hanukkah lasts for eight nights in commemoration of the one-day supply of oil that burned for eight days during that victorious battle.

Although Hanukkah lasts for eight nights, not all families give gifts on every night of Hanukkah. Some give big gifts on the first night of Hanukkah only, while others give smaller gifts spread out over the eight nights.

Hanukkah gifts don’t have to be explicitly religious. However, avoid gift items that are obviously Christmas-based. Don’t give Christmas-tree ornaments, for example, and no gifts with Santa Claus or reindeer on them.

Traditional Hanukkah Gifts for Adults

For adults, the most treasured Hanukkah gifts are menorahs. If your recipient already has a favorite menorah, consider buying new candles for it. Since the holidays are a great time to give back to the community or to show generosity to the less fortunate, consider making a donation to your recipient’s favorite charity in his name.

For families, consider giving gifts that strengthen the bond of togetherness, such as tickets to see a movie or play together. Less expensive family-bonding Hanukkah gift ideas are board games or DVDs that the whole family can enjoy together.

Some Hanukkah gift ideas often cost no money at all. Consider giving a “coupon” book for a free home-cooked meal, housecleaning, lawn mowing, gardening or some other service that costs you only your time. Busy families often appreciate these gifts most of all after the hectic holiday season.

Gift cards or money are great traditional Hanukkah gifts. Be sure to give them in multiples of $18, since the number 18 represents the Hebrew word “chai,” meaning “life.”

Other Hanukkah gift ideas include comfortable pajamas, blankets, slippers, fragrant lotions, foot baths, flannel sheets or other luxurious gift items. Finally, gifts that celebrate Jewish or Israeli tradition are ideal for Hanukkah. Consider giving a book on Jewish traditions or a traditional Jewish cookbook.

Hanukkah Gifts for Children

Many Hanukkah gift ideas for adults also work for children. Many shops make child-friendly menorahs, but a dreidel—a four-sided spinning top with a Hebrew letter on each side—is a great gift for young children. In addition, chocolate coins (also known as “gelt”) are traditional Hanukkah gifts for children. Many children enjoy receiving Jewish dolls, toy Shabbat dinner sets or other child-friendly gifts that celebrate Jewish tradition.