Eight nights of Hanukkah gifts

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Themes can make Hanukkah shopping easier
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Eight nights of Hanukkah gifts can be extra special with this simple plan

Every year, people spend part of December and a good portion of November running around trying to find the perfect holiday gifts for everyone in their family.

Those who celebrate Christmas have only one day on which to focus, but people of the Jewish faith have eight nights of Hanukkah gifts to pick out each year! It used to be just for the kids -- but lately, Hanukkah gifts for adults are becoming the norm, too.

It's enough to make any mom (the one who usually does all that shopping) give up and give everyone eight nights of socks and underwear (the most dreaded of all Hanukkah presents!) 

But there is a better way!  By planning a theme for each night, you can make gift shopping simpler, and take the stress out of picking out Hanukkah gifts.

Creating your theme

Unlike shopping for endless gifts, usually without a clear idea for what I want to buy, picking out my theme each year is fun. And choosing a new theme every year keeps it fresh.

Not sure where to start?  Here are some sample themes and gift ideas to get you started.

Every room in the house

This is one of the easiest themes to pick. Simply assign a room to each night, and then match the gifts to that room. For example:

  1. Kitchen: Cookware, bakeware, food, special cups, spices, fine cooking oils, cupcake papers, animal crackers, candy, recipes
  2. Bedroom: Pajamas, bedroom slippers, bed linens, sachets, shoe polish, socks (yup, I left that in!), bedtime books, blankets
  3. Bathroom: Lotions, kid-friendly hand towels, funny toothbrushes, soap, silly bandaids
  4. Garage: Tools, toy tools, car wash supplies, toy cars, balls and other sports things, Frisbees
  5. Dining room: Picture, learning or ABS placemats, sippy cups, candle holders, napkins, special bibs for baby, question-and-answer games
  6. Living room: Hannukiot (Hanukkah menorahs), Hanukkah candles, pillows, TV remotes, toys
  7. Family room: Board games, books, craft supplies, crayons and coloring books, DVDs
  8. Back yard: Balls, bats, pool toys, seeds, plants, garden tools

These are all pretty "normal" -- but you can make your gifts as silly or personal as you choose. 

On the silver screen -- and the TV screen

The movies and television are another great source for eight nights of themes for your Hanukkah gift buying.  Here are a few from that category:

  1. Big Bang Theory (my personal favorite, so it had to be number one!): science kits, science books, comic books, action figures, Cheesecake Factory gift cards, hoodies
  2. Julie and Julia: cookbooks (for adults or kids), cookware, bread, seasonings, oils, wooden spoons, recipe cards, cookies, jams and jellies, copy of a favorite family recipe
  3. Sesame Street: Stuffed animals, ABC books and cards, CDs that are fun to sing along with, kids toys for grown-ups, learning toys, tiny garbage can filled with candy...

You get the idea,  And like with the rooms theme, you can be as serious or silly as you choose.  You can also spend a lot or almost nothing except your creativity, and still have a wonderful holiday. 

Other themes you can use are...

Almost anything. Off the top of my head, I could suggest a few, including:

  • Countries, states or cities
  • Animals
  • The Patriarchs and Matriarchs (there are 7, so you'll need to pick one more person from the Torah for this one)
  • Foods
  • Sports

No matter what you choose, do make sure you don't loose sight of the message of the holiday. The gifts are nice, but the real message is in the candles and the story they tell of faith, hope and commitment.

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