Hanukkah gifts are really not all that different from Christmas gifts when you think about it. When shopping for a Jewish friend who celebrates Hanukkah instead of Christmas, of course you'll want to stay away from Christian themes, but beyond that, don't feel that you need to limit your gift choices in any way. Hanukkah, like Christmas, is a holiday to celebrate! However, Hanukkah does present a few unique gift-giving opportunities. Here are some things to keep in mind as you search for the perfect Hanukkah gifts:
- Timing. Do go to the trouble to find out just when Hanukkah is, and give your gift (or gifts) then. It does get old fast when Jewish holidays get lumped into Christian ones, Hanukkah in particular. According to the Hebrew calendar, Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of Kislev, but chances are that you don't have a Hebrew calendar. Most other calendars will at least make a note of the first day of most significant Jewish holidays.
Keep in mind that Jewish holidays begin at sundown, so frequently the holiday actually begins the evening before the day that it is listed on the calendar. If you want to be certain, check out a site like Chabad, which lists the dates of upcoming Jewish holidays. By giving your gift at Hanukkah instead of Christmas, you will show your respect for your friend's traditions by honoring her holiday and not everyone else's.
- Eight Days Long. Since Hanukkah is celebrated for eight consecutive days, you can choose to give eight separate small gifts if you so choose. If you prefer to give just one big gift, then you would want to give that either on the first or last day of Hanukkah. Don't be shy about asking your friend which she would prefer-learning more about your friend's traditions is a wonderful way to bond around the holidays.
- Traditional. Do not feel that you need to give traditional holiday-themed gifts such as menorahs, dreidels, candles, oil, and gelt (foil-covered chocolate). If you are giving a series of smaller gifts, certainly some of these would be appropriate, but don't feel that you need to limit your gift choices in any way.
- Differentiate. If you feel that you want to demarcate your gift in some way to acknowledge that it is indeed a gift intended for Hanukkah and not Christmas, then use Hanukkah themed tissue, wrapping paper, gift cards, or even just the traditional Hanukkah colors of white, blue and silver in your wrap and ribbon. If you are going with a star theme, remember that the Star of David has six points (not five).
As with any gift that you give during the holiday season, it is the thought put into your gift that makes it special. So find a Hanukkah gift as you would any other, by paying attention to your friend's tastes, interests and unique characteristics that make you so fond of her in the first place.