Check out some of our creative Hanukkah gift ideas for all eight nights of the Festival of Light. They will help you celebrate the real meaning of Hanukkah and still have lots of fun!
Just to be crystal clear, Hanukkah is a festival to celebrate the rededication of the Temple after its destruction. It is not a sacred holiday that is found in the Torah or Bible. It is not like Christmas. It is observed by the lighting of the menorah which reminds us of the oil that lasted for 8 nights. The genuine traditions include the lighting of the menorah, eating foods that are fried in oil like latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts and exchanging gifts (which these Hanukkah gift ideas will help with).
Technically, the original festival had nothing to do with gifts. This occurred much later in Europe when the idea of exchanging gelt (a bit of money, or a coin) was introduced. Then, as with most “holidays,” we found a way to commercialize Hanukkah. And that’s why we are searching for Hanukkah gift ideas for these eight nights.
I had a hard time over the years with the idea of this gift-giving tradition. So, I did what I could to make it my own and they have not changed much over the years. Since the twins were little, we took each of the eight nights and created a theme. These Hanukkah gift ideas can be shifted and personalized to work for your family and your budget.
So, if you are celebrating the Festival of Light, here are some Hanukkah gift ideas your friends and family will adore. These ideas just might help our friends that celebrate Christmas, too!
Eight Nights of Hanukkah Gift Ideas Everyone Will Love
1. Hanukkah Box
This is one of those Hanukkah gift ideas that can shape shift over the years. It is basically a box filled with all you need for Hanukkah. Over the years, the contents of the box have changed based on something new on the market. When the twins were freshmen in college, the box included an electric menorah for their dorm room. The staples are always chocolate gelt, a new dreidel, Hanukkah cookies, stickers, and other fun Hanukkah finds.
2. The Gift of Giving
Since the twins were born, one night has always been about giving back to an organization or group of people that are meaningful to them. Yes, when they were little, they had no clue, but we still did it. This is one of my most useful Hanukkah gift ideas to pass along to young families.
For example, our kids were preemies and sick when they were born. We had no money as my husband was a Ph.D. student, and I worked in the non-profit world. The visiting nurses that helped us during that time were so wonderful. So, we gave a donation to the Visiting Nurse Association which was so vital to our lives that first year. Without the Visiting Nurses coming to our home every day – when we took the twins home at 11 days and under four pounds – they would have been in the hospital for weeks and weeks. It was not a large donation, but it was what we could give in the twins’ names.
Over the years, the twins chose how we have given back and other years we have chosen it ourselves. But the one constant was that it applied to their lives at that time. We have anonymously paid for dance classes for families struggling when my daughter was dancing. We bought all the supplies for a student to participate in a study abroad program, and one year we picked up the shopping list for a Youth Emergency Service organization and bought everything they needed. This might be one of my favorite Hanukkah gift ideas. How will you give back to those around you?
3. Books and Pajamas
This is pretty basic. Choose a good book and a cozy pair of pajamas. Yes, there have been years that the twins have said they have enough pajamas, so we may substitute socks, a scarf, or other clothing items they may need. If you want to expand on this gift, you can always do a book of the month club. Need some ideas for books? Check out our most recent list of books for women to read now.
4. Game Night
We are a big game-playing family. Yes, we have favorites like Sequence, Blokus, and Rack-O, but each year we try to find a new game. When the twins were at home, this was one thing we bought for the family to share. When they went off to college, everyone got a game. Some years it has been as simple as a new deck of cards or a set of dominoes. Other years we search out really unique board games as Hanukkah gift ideas. Both things work!
5. The Useful Gift
Yes, it may be boring, but a useful gift is valuable. It can be anything the kids need or want. Over the years, the gifts ranged from a stroller we needed to a toaster or a vacuum. I have tried to get creative when the twins have not needed anything and bought fun things, like a cookbook they will have forever, a waffle iron, or a Bluetooth speaker. The issue I have always had with my kids, (which is not an issue at all, is that they are not materialistic and are minimalistic regarding stuff. This means I have become very creative.
We all have enough stuff! So instead, each year we give our kids the gift of an experience. When they were young, it was a trip to the theatre or maybe a rock climbing day. Yes, these were things that we would do anyway, but we classified one as a Hanukkah gift. If you were to ask my kids what they got for Hanukkah, they would rattle off the experiences even if they would not enjoy it until months later. Perhaps the gift of a perfect wedding could be counted as this year’s experience? It would definitely be one of the most creative Hanukkah gift ideas!
Some years, the experiences were gigantic. When the twins were seniors in high school, we gave them a trip to Europe for graduation. That same year one of our most extravagant Hanukkah gift ideas included a National Geographic trip to India to add to their European trip.
7. Exchange With Each Other
Eight nights is a lot! A lot of thinking, a lot of stuff, and just plain old a lot. Since the twins could walk and talk, we have always encouraged them to buy a little something for each other. Yes, when they were young, we helped, but one night has always been dedicated to them exchanging with each other. You may need to give the kids some Hanukkah gift ideas for their siblings!
8. Just a Gift
And on the eighth night, we just exchange gifts. Not sure how else to explain this, but on this night we give a gift we found during the year and held on to it until Hanukkah. Sometimes my husband bought this gift or sometimes it was something we noticed the kids were interested in. The Hanukkah gift ideas for this night can be just about anything you want. Get creative! When the kids were little and lots of friends and family sent gifts, we also saved the eighth night for opening the gifts from others.
Gift-giving can be fun, but it can be stressful, too. Take the stress out of it by setting up expectations that are real and don’t go in debt over any of your Hanukkah gifts.
What are your traditional Hanukkah gift ideas?
I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.