25 Best Hanukkah-Themed Gifts
With eight days of gifts to purchase for each person on your gift list, the pressure is on! No worries, we've got all the inspiration you need.
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The history of Hanukkah gifts
Unlike Christmas, Hanukkah gifts are exchanged on, not one day, but eight, nights. That’s a lot of nights, and a lot of gifts, but there’s a really important reason: Hannukah commemorates the 164 B.C. victory by the Jews against those who had banned the practice of Judaism three years earlier. To reaffirm their dedication to their religion (Hanukkah means “dedication”), the Jews decided to hold their traditional harvest celebration, Sukkot, despite that harvest had happened weeks earlier. But the timing wasn’t the biggest challenge. Rather, it was that Sukkot is a week-long celebration, and after three years of turmoil, everything was in short supply, including oil, which was the sole source of indoor light back then. In fact, there was only enough oil for a single night. By some miracle, however, the oil kept on burning for seven more.
Ever since, the Jewish people have been celebrating their dedication (i.e., Hanukkah) with eight days of feasting and gift-giving. Here are 18 more fascinating Hanukkah facts.
For anyone who really wants to play dreidel: Maple Landmark Store Wooden Dreidels
For those who really want to play dreidel, here is a lovely wood set that was crafted in Vermont and which comes with instructions. Check out these 100 other amazing things made only in the U.S.
For the matchy-matchy family on your list: Children’s Place Matching Family Pajamas
Starting at $6.26
We’ve all seen those adorable photos of families who come down to open their Christmas presents wearing matching family pajamas. Maybe you’re even one of those families. But here’s a newsflash: you don’t have to celebrate Christmas to wear matching family pajamas. And these matching pajamas by Children’s Place are actually meant for Hanukkah with their Hanukkah-themed design featuring dreidels and stars of David. They come in sizes for one-year-olds on up to big kids to mom and dad—even your pup—and priced accordingly.
For expectant parents: Personalization Mall Personalized Hanukkah-onesie
Do you have any expectant parents on your gift list? If so, here’s a ridiculously adorable onesie with a Hanukkah theme that’s also personalizable with the name of the baby, or the name the expectant parents plan to give their baby. Can anyone envision a more adorable name-reveal? Ever wonder how pink and blue became the default “girl” and “boy” baby colors?
For your eco-friendly, makeup-obsessed friend: Take My Face Off the Mitty Menorah Holiday Set
For the beauty-product-obsessed, here is a Hanukkah-themed set of eight makeup remover “mitts” by Take My Face Off, whose reusable, super-soft makeup removing mitts are meant to be better for the environment than makeup wipes and cotton balls—while also taking off every trace of makeup. Here are 18 makeup rules you should know by the time you’re 40.
For those who wear boring masks: 3dRose Hanukkah-Themed Face Mask
Let’s “face” it. Masks are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. And while they have to be effective at preventing the spread of airborne germs, they don’t have to be boring. So, for that friend of yours who’s been wearing nothing but the same old blue surgical masks since the beginning, help them to shake it up and have a little fun with this Hanukkah-themed two-layered face mask. Here are 11 mistakes you might be making with face masks.
For anyone with a sweet tooth: Seed and Mill Halva
Made from sesame seed butter and sugar, halva is a dense, sweet candy that’s nevertheless melt-in-your-mouth flaky. Having originated in the Middle East, it’s beloved by Jews (and others) around the world. If you love peanut butter fudge, you’ll want to try halva, especially if you find peanut butter fudge wanting in terms of its texture (so smooth, so blah). This particular halva, made by Seed and Mill (which is dedicated solely to sesame seed products), comes in a variety of flavors, including pistachio-studded, raspberry, and dark chocolate-ribbon. Did you know sesame seeds were once believed to hold magical properties?
For the kiddies: The Dreidel Company Hannukah Chocolate Gelt
The tradition of exchanging Hanukkah gifts actually originated in the form of “gelt”-giving, according to the Jewish learning site, Chabad.org. Friends and family would gift one another “gelt” (gold coins). Over time, however, and possibly as part of the movement to find ways to interest young children in the holiday, the gelt given as Hanukkah gifts came to take the form of chocolate disks wrapped in foil to resemble coins. And here is how Hanukkah and other holidays might look different in 2020.
For that friend who values “authenticity:” Ner Mitzvah Oil-Burning Menorah
The fact that we light candles for Hanukkah is really just a modern convenience. As discussed above, the real story of Hanukkah involved the use of oil as a light source. So if you have anyone on your gift list who can’t seem to stop talking about the value of authenticity, it doesn’t get much more authentic than this oil-burning Hanukkiah by Ner Mitzvah, whose intricate silver-plate design calls to mind olive branches (olive oil was the oil used in the first Hanukkah celebration). Even better? it can also burn candles.
For someone with an oil-burning Hanukkiah: Ner Mitzvah Glass Oil Cups
Although the oil-burning Hanukkiah discussed above can be used with candles (albeit candles that are thicker than typical Hanukkah candles), it’s really meant to be used with oil. More specifically, it requires the right cups to hold the oil. These glass oil cups, also made by Ner Mitzvah, are durable, come in a set of nine, and are available in multiple sizes so that they can be used with a variety of sizes of candelabra. Can you spot the differences in these holiday photos?
For design enthusiasts: Badash Crystal Dreidel
One way to celebrate Hanukkah is to play dreidel games. A dreidel is a small spinning top with four flat sides (the word is Yiddish for something that turns), each marked with a number. Each player takes a turn spinning the dreidel; the number that comes up is the number of chocolate coins to which the player is entitled to. All of that being said, this particular dreidel was not intended for dreidel games. Rather, it’s handcrafted from crystal by glassmaker, Badash, and would beautifully adorn any desk or shelf.
For brisket carvers: Cutco Santoku-Style Carving Set
Because knives can be costly, this is one of the more expensive Hanukkah gifts on our list. But for that person on your gift list who genuinely enjoys standing at the head of the table and making a show of carving the holiday meat, this is the gift that keeps on giving. Although brisket, which is traditionally enjoyed on Hanukkah, is incredibly tender, doesn’t exactly call for a super-high-quality American-made carving set like this one by Cutco, your giftee will be able to use it year-round on even the toughest of meats.
For the entrepreneurial: The Unstoppable Startup: Mastering Israel’s Secret Rules of Chutzpah
For the entrepreneurially-inclined on your gift list, here’s a book that’s full of all the chutzpah anyone would ever need to turn a startup into a success. Chutzpah is used by Jews the world over to refer to “audacity,” but nowhere more so than Israel, which it turns out, is known for the success of its startups. Author Uri Adoni draws from the stories of successful Israeli startups to illustrate the principles and practices that can make any startup, anywhere in the world, become an unstoppable one.
For chocolate lovers: Hilliards Hanukkah Bark
The thing about Hanukkah gelt is that it’s rarely the best-tasting chocolate. That’s because in the interest of keeping the chocolate coins from melting out of shape, the chocolate that candy makers use to make gelt is often less creamy than many have come to expect in good chocolate. So, for the chocolate lovers on your gift list, we found this super-decadent blue and white “Hanukkah bark.” It’s made with dark chocolate, white chocolate, and natural peppermint and is packaged in a hand-carved wooden holiday keepsake box. Here are 50 other holiday food gifts for everyone on your list.
For kids with gingerbread-envy: Manischewitz Chanukah House
Gingerbread has been an American Christmas tradition for more than 200 years, according to Smithsonian Magazine. Kids love making gingerbread houses, but alas, it’s a Christmas, not a Hanukkah tradition. So for the kids who want to get in on the cookie house-making action, there is this do-it-yourself kit by Manischewitz, a leading purveyor of kosher- and kosher-style products. It uses vanilla cookies, rather than gingerbread, and comes with all the icing and sprinkles you need.
For cookie-bakers and cookie-lovers: Aviv-Judaica Hanukkah-Themed Cookie Cutters
If you’re a fan of shortbread, sugar cookies, or butter cookies,
Christmas cookies are a reliable fix. But if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s a lot harder to justify bringing home that box of Christmas tree-, candy cane-, and North star-shaped cookies. It’s even harder to justify making them from scratch. But here’s a solution: Hanukkah-themed cookie cutters. This set of five Hanukkah-themed shapes (menorah, dreidel, candle, shield, and star of David) is made of non-stick stainless steel and comes in a pretty, giftable box. Don’t miss the best holiday cookie from every state.
For an ambitious baker: Norpro Jelly-Doughnut Cutter
Sufganiyot, or Hanukkah jelly doughnuts fried in olive oil, are a traditional part of the Hanukkah celebration. They remind us about the miracle of the lights discussed above. But let’s face it: making doughnuts is hard. But this heavy-duty commercial-grade jelly-doughnut cutter will make quick work of cutting those babies to the perfect size. When you’re done with Hanukkah, you can use it to make cookies, biscuits, and doughnuts with holes. Donuts are pretty decadent on their own, but you can make them even more so with these delicious ideas.
For fry lovers: Presto Counter-Top Deep Fryer
While you don’t need an electric deep fryer to make sufganiyot, it certainly helps to have one because it’s compact and cleans up easily. It’s perfect for anyone you know who loves to cook and would appreciate having a deep fryer around—not just for Hanukkah but for whenever French fries are on the menu. Just make sure to never reuse your cooking oil.
For latke lovers who don’t like to grate potatoes: Linda’s Gourmet Latke Bites
Potato latkes (potato pancakes) are another symbol of Hanukkah that calls to mind the oil that kept the first Hanukkah celebration going and going. The traditional way of making latkes is simple, provided you don’t mind grating a big pile of potatoes and onions and standing over a hot frying pan. For those who don’t relish the thought, here’s a lovely gift “homemade” latkes…from someone else’s home, or in this case, “Linda’s.” Hosting this year? Here is your ultimate Hanukkah menu.
For the homemaker: Balaboosta: Bold Mediterranean Recipes
“Just as Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of light, being a balaboosta and bringing family together can be a small miracle with a great impact,” noted PBS in its review of this cookbook, Balaboosta: Bold Mediterranean Recipes to Feed The People You Love. Calling someone a balaboosta is the ultimate compliment for those who pride themselves on their homemaking skills. So, this is a perfect gift for the person in your life who want to take their Jewish-style cooking to the next level. These are 31 gifts for mom she’ll actually love.
For a young couple just getting started: RTZEN Hanukkah Menorah
Most people associate the “menorah” with Hanukkah (and here is why we light these special menorahs on Hanukkah.) However, lighting a candelabra is part of a traditional Jewish daily ritual. For most days of the year, a seven-candle candelabra (called a menorah) is used. On Hanukkah, that menorah is switched out for a specially-made Hanukkah menorah known as a “Hanukiah,” which has spaces for nine candles. Eight represent the eight days during which we celebrate Hanukkah, and the ninth is used to light the others, representing the source of the miracle. This handmade Hanukkiah by RTZEN is a perfect Hanukkah gift for a young Jewish couple looking to create their own traditions.
For anyone with a Hanukkiah: Rite-Lite Hand-Dipped Hanukkah Candles
Sure, you can buy candles for the Hanukkiah at the supermarket. But the pandemic has made grocery shopping a lot more fraught and a lot less fun, what with all the worrying about how to avoid germs. More importantly, the Hanukkah candles available at the supermarket are, to be honest, usually pretty basic. And doesn’t a beautiful Hanukiah deserve beautiful candles? These Hanukkah candles are hand-dipped by artisans, and it shows.
For kids and dog lovers of all ages: Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah
When teaching your kids about Hanukkah, sometimes there’s no better way to do it than to sit ’em around a big pile of sufganiyot and take out a book in which a familiar, beloved character is telling the Hanukkah story. Check out these easy Hanukkah crafts projects you can do with your kids.
For the holiday-themed fashionista: Abundant Earthworks Dreidel Earrings
For a cute “spin” on the dreidel theme, gift your earring-wearer with these earrings in the shape of dreidels.
For the musical: Celebrate Hanukkah
Hanukkah songs are warm and fun and easy-to-sing and also teach the uninitiated a lot about the story of Hanukkah. This particular collection is distinguishable because it includes music by Debbie Friedman, who was one of Judaism’s premier folk musicians. Don’t miss the surprising history behind your favorite Christmas carols.
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