Eight alternative Chanukkah gift ideas for the kids

Members of DC Minyan light Hanukkah candles, 2009.

Light the menorah and enjoy this alternative Chanukkah gift ideas. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Rebecca Israel/Wikipedia)

Whether you spell it Hanukkah, Chanukah or Chanukkah, the Festival of Lights is here, and if you’re Jewish, that means that you’re already in full holiday shopping mode. However, you needn’t break the bank to make those eight days and nights as gift-filled for your children as any Christmas celebration. Here are some alternative Chanukkah gift ideas that can help reduce stress and save you cash, courtesy of WiseBread. When it comes to last minute gift ideas, any of these should work well.

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 1 – Family arts and crafts night

Why buy gifts when you can make them with a personal touch? A family craft night gives you a loving activity to share with your young children, as you create gifts for each other. Making menorahs, dreidels or even cookies are all great ideas, and for the most part, each of these can be done using found objects, clay and various other building or food materials you may already have at home.

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 2 – Charitable donation

Being charitable is one of the key mitzvahs of the Jewish faith, so why not teach your children how to be unselfish and giving by involving them is selecting a charity to which you can donate money and/or goods? Charities like Heifer at Hanukkah help direct donations to those in need. Organizing your own local toy exchange with a charity is another way to show that you care, while teaching your children about event management.

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 3 – Potluck

A good family meal is a precious blessing, particularly during the holidays. A potluck is a great way to get everyone involved and bring them to the table for shared memories of Chanukkahs past and future. Let your children make their own dishes too, for the sense of pride they’ll gain from making their family members happy is invaluable.

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 4 – Storytelling night

Sticking with the Jewish oral tradition, why not organize a story night during your family’s observance of the Festival of Lights? There are many traditional stories to be told in relation to the holiday, and collected volumes that tell the tales if reference material is needed. Allowing young children to tell stories themselves is great for helping them develop self-confidence and verbal presentation skills.

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 5 – Game night

Families that play together stay together, and this remains true during Chanukkah. Many dreidel-related games are already woven into the fabric of the holiday, but there’s nothing wrong with bringing other games into the mix, provided you’re a Reform Jew. Small prizes like candies help make it even more exciting for young players.

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 6 – Live music

When was the last time you dusted off the guitar, piano or glockenspiel and played a tune? If you can get your family together during Chanukkah for a night of singing and playing, you won’t regret it. This can easily become part of a family and friends potluck night, too.

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 7 – Kids’ choice

One Chanukkah night, let the kids choose a shared activity. Games, music, dancing, crafts or a combination of all of them. Let their creativity run wild!

Alternative Channukah gift idea No. 8 – A gift from charity

Perhaps one night during Chanukkah, you’ll want to give your kids a large gift. If you have the financial resources, then by all means, do so if you feel so inspired. Don’t hesitate to consider a meaningful gift made by a charitable organization, be it a book, toy or other handmade item. You’ll be providing a gift for your child or children, as well as honoring the mitzvah of giving to charity.


The Dollar Stretcher

Ohev Tzedek


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