Giving presents is made easier when you have theme nights for Hanukkah gifts. This Jewish holiday typically falls some time in December on our Gregorian calendar (it falls on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month of Kislev). Hanukkah is the celebrations the great victory of Judah and the Maccabees against the Syrian-Greeks and the restoration of the Temple. It is not a religious holiday where the children get a day off from school, but one that remembers a great miracle for the Jewish people.
Why Have Theme Nights for Hanukkah?
For Jewish parents, it is very challenging to come up with a gift every night without breaking the bank. If you have more than one child, you want to keep things as equal as possible. By giving a gift with a theme, it is easier to buy gifts that have the same monetary value (for example, there is not much variation in the price of a book if each child gets a paperback chapter book).
Having a theme also simplifies the present exchange. Everyone getting a craft kit that features his or her favorite character or is a preferred activity (mosaics, paint by numbers, a yarn craft) keeps everyone happy.
Last, you can actually save money by having a theme night. If you plan your themes early enough, you can buy gifts on sale and hide them where you kids cannot find them. No last minutes shopping and overpaying for things that were on sale a few weeks earlier.
Here are some ideas to use for Hanukkah theme nights.
Do your children have a favorite character from a television show or movie? Are they are fan of Moana, PJ Masks, Elena of Avalor, or anything Disney? Give a gift that features that character. If your child loves one so much, you can make all of the Hanukkah gifts around that show and character.
Everyone needs a new pair of pajamas. Give them something that will keep them warn and toasty all winter long.
Everyone gets a new pair of slippers on this night. If your child has a favorite character, then you can probably find a slipper with his or her face on it. Or you can have them match the pajamas you gave on another night.
For this night of giving, each child gets their own favorite movie. For many years, this was one of my children’s favorite nights, as they got to stay up late and watch whatever we bought for them. For added fun, attach a box of your child’s favorite movie candy and a bag of microwave popcorn to the gift box.
This is a fun night that can last for a whole week. One night you can give a boxed craft set. On another night, you can give simple craft materials like markers and construction paper.
Each child gets his or her favorite artist’s CD. If you can afford it, then buy concert tickets for when this artist is in town.
One of the best things you can do for your kids is spend time with them. One way to keep families together after dinner is to play a board game. This is what my husband and I did every night with our children. It is focused, family time and there are no electronics allowed. Depending on the age of your children, you can buy classic games for non-readers like Candyland or Chutes and Ladders or adult games for teens like Cards Against Humanity or 5 Second Rule.
Books are the gift that keep on giving. Many schools have book clubs and the teachers send home the flyers each month. Have your child circle what she or he wants, and let them pick two. You can buy the others at the bookstore, or order it in secret from the teacher. She can hold onto the books for you to pick up at another time.
Give to Others-Tzedakah
For one night, forego the gift giving to each other and use that money to give to charity. Or you can go to the store, buy some toys for the Toys for Tots campaign run each year. You can use the money to buy food for a food bank and deliver it yourselves.
Do your kids love those expensive cupcakes or enormous cookies that bakeries sell? Why not give one as a treat? What a great gift idea that does not make any permanent mess in your home.
If you have all girls, this is a fun gift to give.
Here is another one for the all girl crowd. Give a gift bag full of barrettes, hair bands, and clips.
Do your children like to cook? Aprons, chef hats, and their own kitchen tools to help you in the kitchen would be a fun night for all.
Dress Up Night
Add a new costume to our children’s dress up box. You can get some terrific deals at big box stores after Halloween. One of my daughter’s favorite outfits was purchased for two dollars one week after Halloween. You can even use the dress up clothes for Purim costumes.
No matter what theme night you choose for Hanukkah gift giving, make sure you have a great time together as you celebrate.
Featured image created by the author in Picmonkey.