The story of Chanukah is about bravery, determination and finding light in the darkest of times.
These days, we certainly remember and celebrate the centuries-old victory of the Maccabees, but with a modern and material spin — plenty of gifts. And oh boy, do we like gifts — eight crazy nights of them.
Chanukah gifts can easily have a spiritual component. This year, consider bringing back the historic themes of the Festival of Lights through your purchases.
The nine branches of the menorah have signified the Jewish people’s perseverance for more than 2,000 years since the Maccabees’ triumph. Though the story stays the same, your menorah doesn’t have to. Bringing the holiday back to the future, the Brushed Metal Menorah from Etsy.com offers a contemporary take on tradition. Fashion lovers may not get a new pair of shoes for every night, but they can sure pretend with the Menorah Blahnik reinterpretation at Moderntribe.com. Whether it is something themed or traditional, Menorah.com, Squidoo.com and BargainJudaica.com all have excellent options.
On the lighter side
If a dog is a man’s best friend, why shouldn’t he or she get a gift as well? Los Angeles-based Lena Pavia creates Chanukah hats to get your beloved pooch (or pussycat) in the holiday spirit, and sells them on Etsy.com. Pavia’s kippahs are handcrafted with a Star of David and peyos that are suited for any “teacup, small and medium”-sized pet.
Kitsch for the kitchen
Jealous of Bubbe’s latkes, sufganiyot and kugel? Strive to make your grandma proud with your own cooking, using the help of some of this year’s newest Chanukah-themed cookbooks. Many traditional foods are heavy-handed on the oil to assure that we don’t forget what this holiday is really about. But for those looking for a fresh and healthy alternative, Barbara Lori offers the “Healthy Chanukah Cookbook: Savory Jewish Holiday Recipes,” available on Kindle.
Even a seasoned pro in the kitchen can cook up some Chanukah spirit with an “Oy to the World” or “Latke Chef BBQ” apron from Cafepress.com, plates and serving platters from Williams-Sonoma.com, or a cookie cutter set from Kitchenworksinc.com including shofar, dreidel and kiddush cup shapes — for the kids.
Use old family recipes or new reinterpretations to treat the family every night. Rather than buy gifts, why not whip up a different dessert for every night and package it nicely with blue and white ribbon? Many party stores also offer Star of David confetti and stickers to accent your DIY gift as well. Not only will it be delicious, but your own masterpiece is often more meaningful than anything you could buy.
Keep your kinder looking cool at this year’s family dinner with an organic glow-in-the-dark onesie or fancy blue and white bib, both from Moderntribe.com. Is your tyke a toddler? Outfit him in some sweet T-shirts from RedBubble.com. Even local department stores are catching on; Macys, Target and Walmart all have affordable themed options this holiday season.
Perhaps you’re feeling more like a and want to give something more meaningful. There’s no better time than now to give your child his or her own personalized tzedakah box. There are plenty of handcrafted options available on Etsy.com and your little car lover will both love and learn from their own train-shaped box from Moderntribe.com.
Your tech-savvy teens will surely thank you for the hip, new Chanukah-themed iPad covers from Zazzle.com or iPhone cases from CafePress.com that are fun, festive and protective.