Hanukkah Gift Ideas
Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is an eight-day Jewish celebration. It marks the miraculous victory of the Maccabees, Jewish freedom fighters, over the Seleucidian Greek occupiers in the year 139 BCE. After recapturing Jerusalem’s Holy Temple, they searched for pure oil with which to light the Temple menorah. Although they found just enough to burn for one day, it miraculously burned for eight days until more oil could be brought.
That miracle proved that G-d had again taken His people under His protection. In memory of this, our sages appointed these eight days for annual thanksgiving and for lighting candles.
Traditionally, gifts were not a part of Hanukkah. Instead, a small amount of money or chocolate coins, referred to as “gelt”, was given to children. The miracle behind the story of Hanukkah, and the quality time spent with loved ones around the menorah, are the greatest gifts of all!
There is no one right way to give gifts on Hanukkah. Families adopt their own traditions and the gift-giving practice is flexible. Some families give small gifts for all eight nights of the holiday, while others give just one large gift for each family member. Of course, some families don’t give gifts at all. However you choose to celebrate, your family tradition will be cherished time spent together!
Traditional Hanukkah Gifts
As mentioned above, an original Hanukkah gift for children was something called gelt, which is Yiddish for “money”, given either in the form of real money or wrapped chocolate coins. Given to children, they were encouraged to donate a portion of their gelt to charity or their teachers.
A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top, played during the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. Each side of the dreidel is inscribed with a Hebrew letter: Nun, Gimel, Hey or Chai, and Shin. In the game of dreidel, Nun is highest, then Gimmel, Hey, and Shin.
Dreidels can be made from various materials, including wood, silver, brass and lead. You may be surprised at all the styles of dreidels, from the traditional four-sided wood dreidel to aluminum dreidel spirals.
Many adults that grew up receiving dreidels as Hannukah gifts began to collect them, so gifting a unique dreidel can be a memorable experience! Or, start a new tradition with your own kids or Grandchildren of receiving a new dreidel at Hanukkah.
The menorah is one of the most powerful and oldest symbols in Judaism. A child’s first menorah could make for an unforgettable Hanukkah. New converts may appreciate the thought behind a new menorah as a gift. Don’t forget the candles! You can help create excitement and be a part of that special moment as a friend or loved one experiences their first lighting of their menorah. Every household needs at least one menorah!
These traditional Hanukkah gifts are sure to be loved by all.
Hanukkah Gift Baskets
Hanukkah gift baskets make a great seasonal gift item for co-workers, employers, relatives and clients. While you can put a basket together yourself, there are also premade options available. Kosher foods, or any of the traditional gifts above like gelt, menorahs, or candles can all be put together to go into a hanukkah gift basket. Cookies in the Star of David, popcorn, or fruits and nuts are delicious additions to any gift basket!
When it comes to baskets for purchase, we like the premade kosher gift baskets from GiftingKosher.com. Whether you’re looking to gift a basket, or have a beautiful themed basket when you’re hosting holiday festivities, there’s plenty of options to assemble on yourself or purchase a packaged one!
Hanukkah Gifts For Kids
We’ve covered the usual, traditional gifts like gelt or candles, but what other fun gifts can make for Hanukkah fun for the kids? If you follow the relatively new tradition of giving a gift every night of Hanukkah, you might be in need of some fresh ideas.
This Chocolate Gelt Scented Hanukkah Pen is a fun accessory to celebrate the holiday wherever they go! It smells like chocolate gelt coins, and is decorated with dreidels and menorahs.
Yes, adults would like this pen too. Why should kids get all the fun?
Second best to an actual menorah for a gift would be these menorah patterned kid pajamas! The only thing cuter than this might be the dreidel pajamas version also available. Kids can celebrate the festivities every night in their warm and cozy Hanukkah-themed jammies!
For the little ones, a plush toy spinning dreidel is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s a fun way to engage the youngest learners about Jewish traditions. Grandchildren especially will love this new Hanukkah toy!
Is it baby’s first Hanukkah? This plush, musical menorah toy makes a perfect gift for a new grandchild. Little ones can stay away from lit candles on the menorah, but still celebrate with their own toy version. Babies can have their own adorable menorah lighting ceremony – sans any real flames!
Family Hanukkah Gifts
While gifts for Hanukkah aren’t mandatory, family hanukkah gifts are always appreciated. Family Hanukkah gifts can be simple, and don’t have to go overboard, but can still be thoughtful! Whether visiting family for Hanukkah or as the guest of a friend, giving a family hanukkah gift can be quite enjoyable.
Many families enjoy doing puzzles together as part of their quality family time. A thoughtful gift could be a custom family photo puzzle, as it could even be an activity to complete one night of the Hanukkah celebration! All you need is a photo of the happy family and this is a gift with a long life span.
Another family-themed gift that lasts are Hanukkah playing cards. This is another great gift that will last through the holiday season, and promote quality family time. Decorated with the Star of David and menorahs, have fun integrating Jewish tradition into card games like Go Fish!
Handmade Hanukkah Gifts
If you’re looking to DIY a few Hanukkah gifts this year, you’ve got plenty of options.
For the bakers, you can pick up a set of Hanukkah shaped cookie cutters. Use your creativity to decorate the cookies with your own personal touches, and they make a great DIY gift for anyone.
Or if the baker is the recipient of your gift, Hanukkah cookie mix in a jar might be a better choice! Pair the mason jar cookie mix with a gift of Hanukkah shaped cookie cutters and that would make a perfect gift for a friend or loved one.
If candy is more up your alley, grab yourself a pack of Aqua Chevron Paper Treat Bags and eight different types of candy. Fill each bag with a different type of candy, add numbers 1 through 8 on the outside of the bag, and you’ve got a treat for every Hanukkah night.
Gifts For Hanukkah
These are what we think make up some of the best hanukkah gifts. Do you give gifts on Hanukkah?