So our director of content strategy, Melissa Katz, says that I need to spell the Jewish Festival of Lights, aka Chanukah as "Hanukkah" if I'm looking to please the Google SEO Gods. However, I refuse to drop the somewhat phlegmy, soft "cha" sound of the Hebrew letter chet which I mastered pretty early on during my studies at Solomon Schechter Day School in Brooklyn (shout out East Midwood, childhood home of Ruth Bader Ginsburg!). But I digress, this is about Chanukah gifts, and as the resident member of the tribe on the R29 shopping team, I am pleased to present 14 really good present ideas for eight crazy (or mashugana, if you're still with me and playing along) nights.
Opener image: Dinosaur Menorah (Menorasaur?) $39, available at Etsy.
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Give your loved ones a monthly reminder that you're raising a glass with them: to love, to friendships, to hardships overcome, to happy times, small accomplishments, to life!
Cellars Wine Club Bottle Club, $, available at Cellars Wine Club
For the love of Bubbies
Photographer, author, and creator of the Advanced Style blog, Ari Seth Cohen, has a worthy trilogy of inspiring books capturing the style of the forever young. Ari was inspired to start the blog by his best friend, his late bubby Bluma whose energy and attitude towards life continue to inspire him. Pick up his last release Advanced Love, to peep stylish couples from around the world that also offer relationship advice for all ages. There's always Advanced Style first edition, Advanced Style: Older and Wiser, and the charming Advanced Style coloring book.
Ari Seth Cohen Advanced Love, $, available at Amazon
Call your mom
— PAID —
Portal from Facebook is the easiest way to feel close to your family this holiday season — no matter where in the world they are.
Facebook Portal from Facebook, $, available at Facebook
Now that's a spread
Russ & Daughters has been an NYC institution for over 100 years. The original founder, Joel Russ immigrated from his shtetl in Poland to the Lower East Side and started from the bottom. In 1935 he made his three daughters full partners in his business (quite controversial at the time) and the rest is American history. Send the gift of a Jewish-style New York spread (bagels, lox, and a schmear of cream cheese) finished off with coffee and babka, to anyone who deserves a to know what a real bagel tastes like.
Russ & Daughters New York Brunch, $, available at Goldbelly
I learned about HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) after the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The gunman was allegedly incensed by HIAS' mission to help rescue people whose lives are in danger for being who they are. HIAS offers free legal aid, advocacy, assistance with U.S. resettlement, and treats refugees from all over the world with the dignity and respect they deserve. Give a donation in someone's name, here or grab a friend and become a volunteer for the organization.
Pay it forward
Another organization that helps refugees is Choose Love, a store where you can purchase practical gifts that go directly to displaced families in need. If you want your gift to be in the name of someone you know, just download the gift card at checkout.
Choose Love Winter Warmers Pack, $, available at Choose Love
Festivus for the rest of us
Okay, so this one's questionable. But, for those with a sense of humor who are more apt to bow down before the altar of Larry David than pray at all, this gift will light up their life.
TheCandleBarShop Seinfeld Cast Prayer Candles, $, available at Etsy
Primed for gifting
If the free two-day shipping, free Kindle e-books, unlimited photo storage, and exclusive access to deals didn't get your technology-averse parents on board with Amazon Prime, then perhaps the third season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will. You can give the gift of Prime starting at three months for $39, here.
The English translation of Tikkun Olam is "repair the world," a concept that's interpreted differently depending on what denomination of Judaism you follow. For the sake of this gift guide, and in my own secular-leaning ideologies, I'm keeping it literal with the suggestion of afforestation. Over at the Arbor Day Foundation, you have the option to gift evergreen seedlings, gift-a-tree cards, a tree nursery, or Arbor Day coffee — all of which have proceeds going back to our national forests and other tree-planting efforts around the world.
Those foil coins that come in yellow plastic mesh sacks are cute to play dreidel with, but have you ever eaten one? Feh! Step it up a few notches with this bag of gourmet chocolate gelt from the indie food wizards over at Mouth.
Mouth Gelt Trip, $, available at Mouth
Or you can go the fashionable route with a 14K gold-plated good luck coin necklace from the sustainable direct-to-consumer jewelry brand, Ana Luisa.
Ana Luisa Good Luck Necklace, $, available at Ana Luisa
Finally, a menorah that the Bernie bros *said lovingly* in your life will appreciate. Made by artist Stephen Peirce in Texas, this Chanukiah totally rips.
GRAV Labs 14'' Menorah Bubbler, $, available at GRAV Labs
It's true — Jews love seltzer. Our zest for carbonated water goes way back to the nineteenth century when Jewish entrepreneurs peddled the filtered sparkling beverage as a high-end but affordable alternative to spirits and questionable drinking water. I remember the siphoned bottles of seltzer being delivered to my grandmother's house in Bensonhurst every week back in the '80s but the business of seltzer delivery is nearly extinct. Now, you can still get the fresh taste of effervescent water at home with less waste than a value pack of LaCroix with Israeli company SodaStream. If your giftee already owns a seltzer maker (zei gezunt), give them a set of natural citrus flavor-enhancers to mix it up a bit.
SodaStream 5 Piece Fruit Drops Sensation Variety Set, $, available at Wayfair
Not only did the honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg grow up a stone's throw from my childhood home in Brooklyn, but she also shares my love of jewelry, the arts, and respectfully sticking to one's guns. (She has a knack for combining all three passions in one snazzy dissent bib, too.) Take a page from this Zazzle seller and spread the joy of Resistmas with class. Add in some sufganiyot while you're at it.
Pen And Letter Ruth Bader Ginsburg Merry Resistmas Mug, $, available at Zazzle
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