How to Buy Hanukkah Gifts for Kids
How to Buy Hanukkah Gifts for Kids
Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is also known as the "Festival of Lights" or the "Festival of Dedication". It lasts for 8 days and is celebrated from the 25th day of the Jewish month Kislev to the second or third day of Tevet, with the exact dates varying between November to early December.
For some Jewish families, an important part of the tradition includes giving gifts to children on each of the eight days, with each gift reflecting something related to the values and understandings in Judaism, as well as a few being for the sake of children's happiness. If you're not sure what to give on some of the days, or even for all of the days, this article provides some suggestions to help you.
Note: If you're buying gifts for Jewish children, check with the family first. Not all Jewish families make a big deal out of the gift-giving aspect of Hanukkah; alternatively, the preference for how gifts are given can vary considerably. The following article is a basic guide.
Buy a modest gift for Day 1.Choose a gift that is modest and fairly priced. For example, a DVD, a CD of a favorite rock band, etc. Choose something small that you know the child would like to have.
- If the child is young, think building blocks (Legos or Lincoln Logs), small dolls, board or card games, or sports play toys (Frisbees, Nerf balls, etc.)
- If the child is older, think articles of clothing, CDs or DVDs, a subscription to a magazine, or sports or entertainment memorabilia.
Think of an educational gift for Day 3.Education is the focus on this day. Give the kids a gift that is both educational and fun, something that will teach them about the world, or maybe something about themselves. If you want to make the greatest impact, get them a gift in an area you know they'll enjoy.
- There are plenty of excellent ideas here, including science kits, rock tumblers, crystal growing kits, chemistry sets, electronics projects, etc.
- Books can also be a great gift idea, although not all books are equal in the eyes of children. Get a book that is engaging and a bit edgy instead of dry and academic. Try books about dinosaurs and ships for young boys, or perhaps books about horses or fairy tales for girls.
- Some other gifts might be a butterfly garden, a no-stress chess set, a microscope, telescope, or an educational tablet for kids.
Give the gift of money or chocolate coins for Day 4.For the next night, give them "gelt," a Yiddish word for money. If they are young, give them chocolate coins. If they are older, give cash (ranging from to ), or coins of any amount. You could also simply deposit an amount direct into their savings account.
- Kids might get a kick out of older coins, especially if they are older. Old Silver dollars or two-dollar bills might be a good idea.
- Give kids money in a different currency and encourage them to travel. For example, give them shekels and tell them that they can use them if/when they go to Israel on Birthright.
Gift them a Jewish-related present on Day 5.Give them a gift related to Judaism on this day. For teens and tweens, such items as religious books, a symbolic necklace, a snow globe, or a bookmark would work well. For younger kids, good choices include picture books, jewelery, games, etc., with a religious theme. Dreidels work well for kids of all ages.
Give them an earth-conscious gift on Day 6.Be kind to the Earth this Hanukkah and give them an eco-friendly gift, such as a durable water bottle, a small compost bin, a recycled purse, or a plant to grow. Wrap it in last week's newspaper and present it to the kids.
- Other gift ideas include an indoor gardening kit or indoor greenhouse, organic sculpting dough, an ecosphere, as well as solar toys.
Do something family-related on Day 7.Give the kids an outing with the family. Either plan to go and do something together on this day, or purchase tickets for an upcoming event that you'll all attend together. Another alternative is making an IOU for something you know the whole family really wants to do, or a small family vacation to be taken later.
Splurge a little on Day 8.This is the day for the most expensive and fun gift for your child. A new bike, a play set, a pool, a play piano are good for non-living gifts. Or, if you're up to getting a pet for your child, get a family pet, but be sure to tell your kid about the responsibility he or she now has.
- Some nice gift ideas for girls include: fancy clothes (a nice dress or a cashmere sweater, for example), jewelry, a musical instrument, perfume, a handbag or a makeup set.
- Some nice gift ideas for boys include: a musical instrument, a sports-set (basketball hoop, or hockey pads, for example), a computer or video game (it doesn't have to be educational), or tickets to a sports game.
Plan a budget in advance.While one child is affordable, many children can soon blow the budget with 8 days of gifts! Sort out how many of the days you think you'll give gifts for, as well as the types of gifts you can afford, and what your budget can handle.
- Keep in mind that observing the spirit of the occasion is the most important aspect.
- If giving gifts to siblings, keep in mind that each gift will need to be similar in price and value for each child.
- If children consistently complain about the gifts they get, prepare to leave gifts out of Hanukkah for one year: Teach your kids how lucky they are to be in a position to receive gifts at all.
Allow for flexibility.On each of the eight days, the tradition is for a gift of a particular sort is given to each child. However, it is important to recognize that the gift-giving part of Hanukkah does not need to be followed strictly or even observed on each day – it depends on your budget, your enthusiasm, and, of course, your interpretation of this part of celebrating Hanukkah. Approach Hanukkah gift giving in the way that your family believes is the most appropriate.
- For some parents, giving very modest gifts of the same kind several times over is not unusual (for example, giving small amounts of coins or chocolate coins several times during the week), while other parents favor one single large gift at the end, with extremely modest gifts in between (such as Hanukkah decorations), or daily donations to charity in the child's name.
Talk about Hanukkah with your family.As with any religious holiday where gifts are involved, it is important to spend a little time relating the gift giving to the occasion being celebrated. Make it an enjoyable time of learning, with the whole family involved in talking about Hanukkah and celebrating it together.
QuestionDo I wrap presents for Hanukkah?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can. It is more fun for the child that way.Thanks!
QuestionCan I just buy one gift for a 1year old boy?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThere is no minimum or maximum for amount of gifts. It all depends on the kid!Thanks!
QuestionDoes Hanukkah Harry visit during the eight days of Hanukkah to give presents to the children?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. This is a myth and is completely untrue. It is probably adapted from Christmas and Santa Claus.Thanks!
- If purchasing a pet for the kids, DO NOT pick the pet out in advance. Let the kids know of your intention to get them a pet, let them know what kinds of pets are acceptable in your home, and take them to pick out a pet themselves.
- Another take on the gifts is to spend some of the days making Hanukkah crafts instead of receiving gifts. This provides the gift of togetherness, of learning to use one's hands for creating things, and the final handmade result is a gift in its own right.
- Consider purchasing handmade toys and items that support charities or local craftspeople, as part of the tradition of helping others.
- Give kids the gift of your time. If things have been busy lately, take this opportunity to spend some more time with your kids and to enjoy being together.
- If children are old enough to be able to cook with oil (late tweens, early teens on), spend some time giving them the gift of learning to cook together, and make some of the traditional Hanukkah foods such as latkes, jelly donuts, and fried torzelli. Supervise all novice cooks, especially around hot oil; explain in detail the consequences of hot oil splashes.
Things You'll Need
A fair-priced gift for Day 1
Money to give to your child's favorite charity for Day 2
An educational gift for Day 3
Money/gelt/chocolate coins for Day 4
A Jewish-related gift for Day 5
An eco-friendly gift for Day 6
A gift card or an IOU to go out somewhere for day 7
A large gift (such as a bike, iPod, etc.) or a pet for Day 8
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Video: Jewish Traditions : How to Buy Hanukkah Gifts
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