1. Go Traditional. Choosing a traditional Hanukkah gift is an easy way to ensure that your gift will be loved and appreciated. Traditional gifts include Hanukkah menorahs, dreidels, and Judaica. In many houses, tradition includes useful or practical items, like Dead Sea bath products, Jewish themed kitchen items, Jewish books, Jewish music, or Jewish jewelry.
2. BUT Don’t Go Too Traditional. Unless you know someone’s level of religious observance, you might want to stay away from gifts like Shabbat candlesticks, Jewish prayer shawls (tallit), challah covers, shofars, or Kiddush sets. Giving someone who doesn’t keep the Shabbat a havdalah candle could be misinterpreted as a big old hint that they should. Gift giving isn’t the time to cause bad feelings or press friends or family to be more observant.
3. Keep It Simple For The Kids. In many Jewish families with small children, Hanukkah is not the time for mega-gift giving. Hanukkah gifts, given out one for each night, often meet some practical kid-sized needs. Socks, t-shirts, books, school supplies, and small gifts characterize Hanukkah for many families no matter what their income is. If you’re bringing a gift for children, from your neighbor’s kids to your own nieces and nephews, this is not a time to make your gift the most expensive, flashiest or loudest. Either ask the parents ahead of time or stick to something humble like a t-shirt, book, or music CD.
4. Give Gifts With Meaning. Hanukkah isn’t the most religious holiday in the Jewish calendar, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t meaningful. Choose gifts that reflect on the Hanukkah story. Of course menorahs are a shoo-in and you can also find menorah themed jewelry, art, mezuzahs, mosaic-making kits, and more. Choose light-catching jewelry or glass artwork to remember the miracle of light. The meaning of the gift you choose is yours to find and impart to those who you present the gift. Which can all be done with #5 . . .
5. A Card, A Note, Say Something! It used to be that someone wouldn’t dare open a present without a card. But these days it seems more and more folks don’t even include a card. Take the time to pen something short, sweet, and Hanukkah-related to give with your gift. And even if it’s penned on a folded up brown grocery bag and taped to the present, your time and effort will be appreciated. Kid-made cards and gift tags are a great way to keep costs low and meaningfulness high!
6. Wrap Thoughtfully. Jewish people don’t expect everyone in the world to go out and buy blue & white wrapping paper. However, it is a small courtesy to avoid Christmas-themed wrapping paper. Is a Hanukkah gift in Christmas paper as good as a Hanukkah gift in Hanukkah paper? Yes, under the paper they’re the same. But a small effort goes a long way. You don’t need to go out and buy blue & white explosion of Star of David sparking ribbons, rather just avoid the Christmassy stuff.
7. Give At Hanukkah. Or At Least Close to Hanukkah! Christmastime is easy to predict on the Gregorian calendar. It’s the same day every year. Hanukkah, on the other hand, can happen anytime between Thanksgiving and New Years. While a Jewish person living in a predominantly Christian nation doesn’t expect everyone to know when Hanukkah falls, you should at the least not pretend that it’s on Christmas. This year, 2014, Hanukkah is from December 16 to December 24. But last year, when it was in November, it was just a bit awkward to get Hanukkah presents, oh, about a month after the holiday itself. If you don’t know when Hanukkah is, but are giving a gift it’s perfectly OK to say “I’m not exactly sure when Hanukkah is, but I wanted to give you this gift.”
8. Be Fair. If you’re going to an event with many children and you’d like to get them gifts, be sure to get all the kids similar gifts and leave the bigger presents for later. A great gift for kids at a family party could be a t-shirt, kids’ sized jewelry, books, dreidels, menorahs, craft-making kits, and more. If you’re giving gifts to adults or need hostess gifts, Dead Sea cosmetics are a great choice. Gift giving is a time to make everyone feel included, not to foster differences.
Gift giving can be a very sensitive area and Hanukkah can be uncharted water or simply choppy seas for some. Stick with these 7 rules and we guarantee a better experience than if you hadn’t listened to any of them. Gift giving should be a fun, meaningful experience – listen to our advice and up your odds of having a rewarding Hanukkah experience.