Hanukkah is one of our favorite Jewish holidays. The fun Hanukkah traditions bring warmth, light and good food to the cold winter evenings. It’s a time for families to get together around the hanukkiah (menorah) and for the kids to eat sufganiyot and play with dreidels.
A lot of people think of Hanukkah as the Jewish Christmas. Hanukkah gift giving isn’t on the same scale as a US or European Christmas, but there are plenty of fine Hanukkah gifts for family members and hosts.
What are Examples of Appropriate Hanukkah Gifts?
There are no religious rules or even any special etiquette when it comes to Hanukkah gifts. Hanukkah gift giving is a matter of personal preference and individual budget. Jewish gifts for Hanukkah could be as simple as a bag of sufganiyot fresh from the local bakery, or luxurious and unique Hanukkah gifts like a handmade sterling silver hanukkiah from Jerusalem.
Hanukkah Food Gifts
Hanukkah food gifts always include sufganiyot, and perhaps a bottle of Israeli wine for the adults. In Northern Europe and the US it used to be traditional for Ashkenazi Jews to prepare a roast goose for a special Hanukkah dinner. Other popular Hanukkah foods include latkes and cheese pancakes or cassolas.
Your choice of Hanukkah food gifts will probably depend on who you’re buying for. Kids are easy to please and will happily devour anything sweet. If you’re bringing food gifts for adults, you’ll need to be a little more imaginative. Rabbinic literature recommends eating cheese and dairy products during Hanukkah. If you need a break from jam filled doughnuts, try surprising everyone with a cheese platter – or even a cheese fondue.
How many gifts do you give for Hanukkah?
There are no rules whatsoever about how many gifts to give for Hanukkah. You could buy a single gift for the entire family, or small individual presents for your kids or grandkids. Hanukkah is a fun old fashioned holiday and there’s no obligation to go on a spending spree. The thought behind the gifts is far more important than the actual number of presents.
A few well chosen Hanukkah gifts for friends and family are enough to acknowledge any hospitality you receive, and to add a special touch to the candle lighting ceremony or a Hanukkah dinner.
What is an Appropriate Hanukkah Gift for Kids?
If you want to teach kids about Jewish traditions (and keep them happily occupied) the best possible Hanukkah gift is a dreidel. The traditional Jewish spinning tops have amused generations of kids going back thousands of years. The four sided dreidel, with the Hebrew letters נגהש are simple but wonderful toys and are perfect Hanukkah gifts for family members.
A big part of the Hanukkah magic for kids is the nightly candle lighting ceremony. Children love to see the candles lit and the little ones can’t wait to be old enough to take their turn with the candle lighter. If you’re looking for special Hanukkah gifts for your family, a hanukkiah is a great choice. You can buy handmade hanukkiahs in either 925 sterling silver or colorful anodized aluminum.
If you’re struggling to find unique Hanukkah gifts for the kids, you can always fall back on the old tradition of Hanukkah gelt (small gifts of money). Kids love to get gifts of money and it’s a failsafe choice, especially if you left your holiday preparations to the last minute, or forgot to buy dreidels or other presents.
Hanukkah Gifts for Friends
Hanukkah gift giving can be a lot more interesting If you’re buying Hanukkah gifts for friends. You’re less likely to be limited to sufganiyot, dreidels and hanukkiahs and can use your imagination when you look for unique Hanukkah gifts. Israeli wine or a deli hamper from Jerusalem is usually a good choice – especially if there’s a party.
Handmade Judaica jewelry or Israeli art (originals or prints) can be ideal Hanukkah gifts for friends. If you know someone’s personal taste, you’ll easily find a special present. If you’re not sure exactly what style or design is best, a Nadav Art gift card is a great surprise. Gift cards allow the recipient to browse the entire online collection and have a lot of fun choosing the perfect Hanukkah gift.
Personalized Hanukkah Gifts
When you buy Judaica Jewish gifts for Hanukkah it’s almost always worth opting for personalized Hanukkah gifts. A 925 sterling silver menorah is (usually) a once in a lifetime purchase and is likely to become a future family heirloom. At the very least, you’ll probably want to engrave a dedication or a family blessing.
If you’re buying handmade silver or anodized aluminum dreidels for the kids, it’s a simple matter for our Jerusalem craftsman to add a child’s name or initials to each dreidel. Personalized Hanukkah gifts don’t have to be large or expensive. Jewish gifts for Hanukkah can also include jewelry with Jewish themes and symbols like the Star of David, Chai symbol, Eshet Chayil, or hamsa. Rings, necklaces and bracelets can also be personalized with a name or blessing.
Commission Unique Hanukkah Gifts
Personalized Hanukkah gifts can be adapted with silver beading and silver solder decorations, as well as colored enamel inlay and silver stamping. If you’re looking for a really special Hanukkah gift, talk to one of our English speaking designers about commissioning a unique Hanukkah gift. Our Jerusalem design team will work with you closely to custom design a one off piece of Hanukkah Judaica that will be yours alone – and will never be repeated.
Hanukkah is a wonderful Jewish holiday, full of exciting stories and commemorating important historical events. It’s also a welcome midwinter break and a time for eating, drinking and gift giving. You can shop our online collection of Hanukkah Judaica now, or contact us for advice and suggestions about personalized Hanukkah gifts.