There are lots of traditional gifts to give your loved ones during Hanukkah. But there are also some unusual ones to consider. I spent some time searching the internet for some ideas. I hope you enjoy my top picks for an especially unique Hanukkah this year.
1) The 2017 Nice Jewish Guys Calendar features an array of menschen you can proudly take home to mom. The calendar turns the spotlight on the underrated characteristic that pecs and tight buns can’t deliver…niceness. The Nice Jewish Guys Calendar features a different mensch every month. Major secular and Jewish holidays noted. $14.95. moderntribe.com
2) Dreidel is a fun game to play, but you can also have dreidels that are works of art. These Glass Dreidels by artist Gary Rosenthal have a contemporary style rooted in tradition. His inspiration comes from the rich history of the Jewish people, which tells us it’s a blessing, or mitzvah, to make beautiful, functional art. $120 for 6. menorah.com.
3) You can find menorahs made of metal, glass and clay in traditional, modern and unusual shapes, including people, animals, planes and cars. There is something about the Wheeling Groovy Menorah that just makes you smile! This enameled metal bus looks like it just came back from a road trip to a 60s concert. $52. menorah.com.
4) What better gift to give than your time? Pinspiration has all the supplies you need to “create” together as a family. Current Judaica projects include: a linen canvas and Star of David collage, a shalom pennant banner, Shabbat beaded/painted wine goblets, an oy vey food platter, Judaica wine charms, dreidel and Star of David mason jars, wooden menorahs and beaded spoons. Projects range from $26-$42. Reservations not required but recommended for large parties. Pinspiration is located at 5410 E. High St. #105 in Phoenix. Call 480-636-8010 or visit pinspiration.com.
5) The Chanukah Festival Basket has it all. Enjoy an assortment of noshes, including chocolate drizzle popcorn, Chanukah fortune cookies, chocolate babka, shortbread cookies, marzipan candies, assorted gourmet chocolates and other holiday necessities: menorahs, gelt and dreidels. Serves 10 to12. Parve & dairy. $159.99. challahconnection.com.
6) Whether you own a teacup breed or a mastiff, your best friend can be decked out for Hanukkah in an I Love You a Latke Dog T-Shirt. They’ll be the envy of the dog park! $14.95. cafepress.com.
7) Looking for an outdoor, inflatable decoration? Look no further than the 6-Foot Jewish Snowman Hanukkah Inflatable. This snowman is ready to celebrate the festival of lights as he holds his own menorah and dreidel. Includes light bulbs, yard stakes, tether/ropes and an external fan for easy assembly. $129. standardconcessionsupply.com.
8) Wear a symbol of the Holy Land close to your heart with the Israel in My Heart RingSaver Pendant. Designed by Sarah Feld of Beit El, Israel and created by artist Avichayil, the silver RingSaver pendant features a map of the state of Israel safely enclosed inside a heart frame. The unique, open-ended design allows you to slip your ring off and hang it on the pendant when washing hands or applying lotion. $49. israel365.com.
9) Celebrate the Festival of Lights with eight days of Sprinkles! This year, skip the gelt and send a Sprinkles Hanukkah box, perfect as currency in dreidel games or paired with latkes by the menorah. Sprinkles Hanukkah boxes feature red velvet, dark chocolate and vanilla cupcakes adorned with blue Star of David sugar decorations and are sealed with a Star of David sticker. Available Dec. 24-31. $52. Sprinkles is located at 4501 N. Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale. Call 480-970-4321 or visit sprinkles.com to place an order online.
10) Even the little ones can join in the fun of lighting the menorah with a My Soft Menorah Set. This plush 11-piece set includes a menorah, nine removable candles and a candle-storage pouch. $12.99. judaica.com.
11) Ever wish you could participate in the “ugly sweater contest” at the holiday office party? This year you can when you wear the Hanukkah Sweater with dark blue and white accents livened by a pair of dancing dreidels with enormous grins on their little faces. They jointly hold aloft the time-honored menorah, creating a cheery motif sure to be a contender. Sizes for women and men. $55. tipsyelves.com.
12) Who doesn’t want a mensch around the house? The Mensch on a Bench is a 12-inch plush doll with an accompanying hardcover storybook explaining Hanukkah from Moshe the Mensch’s point of view. The book tells the story of Moshe, who was in the temple when Judah and the Maccabees won an important war. With only enough oil for one night, Moshe volunteered to watch over the menorah while everyone else was sleeping.
What a mensch! $29.99.
Moshe also has friends! Hannah the Hanukkah Hero comes with her own hardcover storybook. $29.99. Pose questions to the Ask Bubbe – Talking Grandma Doll and get a response typical of a Jewish grandmother. $19.99. themenschonabench.com.