The wonderful Jewish tradition of Chanukah is a festival of lights, where the triumph of freedom and liberation over tyranny is celebrated. The story of the battle and its aftermath, though harking back to ancient times, is universal and timeless. The feeling it evokes is beyond words; people play homage in beautiful ways. Prayers are recited, and candles are lit. The spinning of dreidels is widespread. Customs may vary from one family to the next, but the shared Jewish sentiment that breathes life into the festival transcends all barriers. All Jewish families will be familiar with that inexplicable feeling during the eight nights of loved ones coming together over Chanukah gifts.
Gifts are a wonderful way to express love, compassion, and gratitude, but in our modern world, there lurks the danger of this sacred festival crossing over into yet another consumerist exhibition. For those who wish to celebrate the festival without compromising on the sanctity of the Jewish faith, there are a number of ways in which you can make Chanukah more meaningful.
Celebrating Chanukah is a great way to keep Jewish traditions alive. The options to help you light up the event are plenty. For children, chocolate coins really work their magic; a menorah could also work, or you could even get the whole family together over a dreidel game.
The classics like Candy Land, Cluedo, Monopoly, Scrabble, are all great choices to make Chanukah a special event like no other. Kids are waiting for a reason to sit down for a fun time, and what better way to help them bond than a good old board game? In addition to being fun, they also make you think and keep your mind engaged.
Books will never go out of fashion. Reading is a good habit that children must cultivate from a young age; but that aside, there is a charm to sitting down with a nice book and entering a new mind space that will never date. You can choose a book that is appropriate for a particular child based on his or her interests and reading level. Not only can it be a great way to help kids improve their vocabulary, but it can also help them build empathy and compassion by understanding other perspectives and even abstract concepts.
There is no better way to illustrate the virtues of sharing to kids than to give them a family gift and create a timeless experience that is meant to be shared. Irrespective of whether the gift is inexpensive or extravagant, the act of getting the family together over a shared gift is the perfect embodiment of faith. A pizza dinner, picking a movie to watch, getting a sports kit to get them playing— these are a few inexpensive ways one can really light up the celebration.
A great way to make this year’s Chanukah an event like no other is to give kids goodie bags filled with their individual favorite things. They don’t have to be very lavish items at all, even the simplest things like candy, costume jewelry, cosmetic items, stickers, and other practical things that a lot of kids enjoy will do the trick. The feeling that comes through is that each child is unique and special.
Not every great gift requires an elaborate shopping experience. A DIY gift can go a long way in showing a person that you care. Moreover, the feeling of being given a handmade gift is so powerful that the person receiving it is bound to pay the act forward to someone else. Chanukah, besides being a festival for the family to get together, is a great opportunity to learn from each other. It is a way to celebrate shared values.
Gifts to Make Chanukah an Unforgettable Eight-Days of Celebration
Jewish Cultural Phrase Labels For Your Wine Bottles
For each of the eight days of Chanukah, pick a theme and explore it beautifully through the use of a phrase on a wine bottle label. This way, you get to celebrate with friends and family and let your hair down, yet you remember the cultural significance of the festival.
Star of David pendant with Hebrew Names
This is, arguably, the best gift you can give someone to honor the festival while showing them your gratitude, respect, and appreciation. ‘Star of David’ is an extremely powerful Jewish statement, alluding to a beautiful story carrying multitudes of cultural significance. A Star of David name pendant would go far beyond words when presented as a gift. It would be a gesture of unspoken depth.
An Exquisitely Jewish Cookbook
Treats like cookies and challah (a special braided bread used in ceremonies), classic dishes like marble chiffon cake, matzo balls (dumplings for soup), kugel (a type of casserole or pudding), and rugelach (a pastry with filling) — these are the perfect additions to a perfect Chanukah and are a delight to the tongue. A Jewish cookbook really comes to life when you set aside delicacies for a get-together, and there is no better time to try cooking a new dish.
A Personalized Menorah
A menorah is a great gift for Chanukah. When specially crafted with a subtle, beautiful design of personal significance, it elevates the very idea of gift; it becomes the symbol of a rich inner life. The menorah theme works well with practically anything, but especially when buying themed jewelry.
Happy Chanukah, everyone!