When I was a kid, my brother and I would wait impatiently every winter for a Toys “R” Us catalog to come in the mail, then we’d clip out our most coveted items and stick them on the fridge for our parents and relatives to take note of.
It was a brazen move, sure, but at least it eliminated all the gift-buying guesswork from Hanukkah.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and Hanukkah shopping has become a bit trickier. Adults don’t have the chutzpah to tell you exactly what they want, and kids expect gifts that are more sophisticated than a handful of gelt.
This year, say goodbye to the guessing game and gifting socks. I’ve combed the internet for the best Hanukkah finds that are sure to please anyone on your list, from bubbe to baby.
1. Birthday cake babka and challah combo — $55
This birthday cake babka and challah combo from Gold Belly in collaboration with chef Jake Cohen is perfect for anyone on your Hanukkah list. You can select either a classic challah or everything challah, and for an extra $25 you can add Jake Cohen’s cookbook, Jew-Ish, to your gift. This delicious combo delivers every Friday, making it a great centerpiece for a Hanukkah Shabbat meal.
2. Too Lit to Quit Hanukkah sweater — $65
Why should Christmas get all the lights when Hanukkah is literally the Festival of Lights? This light-up Too Lit to Quit Hanukkah sweater makes for a great gift, especially for your sweater-loving friend. Perfect for every occasion, from an office ugly-sweater day to a hoppin’ Hanukkah party.
3. Matching Hanukkah pajamas — starting from $34
Aside from the totally unhealthy food we all look forward to, nothing else says Hanukkah quite like matching family Hanukkiah-printed pajamas. Mix and match your perfect set with options for mom, dad, kids, babies, and even pets so that the whole family is in the holiday spirit.
4. Latkes and Lights candle — $38
Gift your loved one with the delicious oily scent of fried latkes, even after the eight days of Hanukkah are up. This Latkes and Lights candle by homesick contains notes of baked apple, potato, and butter, stirring up that Hanukkah feeling any time you light it up throughout the year.
5. Sugarfina Eight Nights of Hanukkah — $30
Advent calendars might be a Christmas tradition, but that doesn’t mean we can’t give it a Hanukkah spin. This Hanukkah countdown calendar by Sugarfina makes a great gift for kids checking off each day of the fest. With sweet treats to discover every night — like mini sugar cookies, caramels, and candied almonds — it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
6. Sababa cookbook — $20
American-Israeli chef, Adeena Sussman, shares her favorite recipes from her Israeli kitchen in her cookbook, Sababa. With timeless recipes such as melted cabbage, zhug-marinated lamb chops, shakshuka, and falafel balls, this cookbook makes the perfect gift for a friend or family member who’s always hosting and cooking.
7. Gold Hebrew initial necklace — $250
A classic and minimalist Hebrew initial on a 14-carat gold chain is a beautiful Hanukkah gift for any jewelry-lover in your life. Just make sure you know how to write their name in Hebrew before you buy! For moms who love to wear their kids’ names or initials, this could be a great alternative to an English letter and makes for a special keepsake.
8. Multipurpose pan — $145
There’s nothing like frying up dozens of latkes to make you realize you might need to invest in better cookware. Come out one step ahead by gifting this multipurpose pan from Our Place. With the accessories it comes with, this pan is meant to replace eight different pieces of cookware, as it can be used as a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, and more.
9. Tic Tac Toe Menorah — $125
Designed and handcrafted in Tel Aviv by artist Laura Cowan, this unique menorah is made from 10 separate pieces. Each piece can be used as a candle holder, and after the candles melt you can give your dreidel a break and use the pieces for a fun game of tic tac toe.
10. Hamsa serving plate — $85
In Judaism, the hamsa symbolizes protection from the evil eye, making it a staple piece of decor in any Jewish household. This fun twist on a hamsa sees it turned into a designed serving plate with multiple pieces, making it a thoughtful and meaningful gift for anyone who loves hosting or simply snacking.
11. Candleholders — $135
Sure, any candleholders make for a nice gift, but these 24-carat gold-plated candleholders depicting the Woman of Valor blessing are a statement piece. The blessing, traditionally read by a husband to his wife before the candle lighting on Shabbat, is meant to be a reminder of a woman’s strength and importance. This is a gift that would surely be cherished every week for generations!
12. Holiday schmear sweater — $60
In a perfect world, we’d be wearing a different Hanukkah sweater for each of the eight nights. This cozy ‘spreading holiday schmear’ sweater is perfect for nearly anyone on your Hanukkah gift list, as long as they have a good sense of humor and a love for bagels. Honestly, who even needs holiday cheer when you can have holiday schmear?
13. Mensch on a bench — $30
Inspired by Elf on a Shelf, Neal Hoffman, a toy entrepreneur, came up with Mensch on a Bench to appease Jewish kids during the holidays. As featured on Shark Tank, this plush toy comes with a children’s book that explains the traditions of Hanukkah in a fun and friendly way, making it a sweet gift for younger members of your family.
14. Designed dinnerware — $50-60
This gorgeous blue mosaic dinnerware collection from Williams Sonoma would look stunning on any Hanukkah table, or any festive Jewish holiday table, for that matter. The dinnerware comes in a set of four unique salad plates for $59.95 and one larger platter, perfect for a mound of latkes or sufganiyot, for $49.95.
15. Galilee olive oil — from $20
As a staple in any and all Hanukkah recipes, olive oil makes a useful gift for anyone on your list. This award-winning Sindyanna olive oil originates from the Galilee region in Israel. The company is an Arab and Jewish female-led non-profit producing cold-pressed olive oil that supports peaceful initiatives in the Middle East.
16. Slippers — $100
As one of the few Jewish holidays that falls in the winter, Hanukkah is the optimal time to stock up on cozy clothes and footwear. These Ugg Disquette slippers are perfect for cuddling up on the couch with a plate of latkes and Adam Sandler’s 8 Crazy Nights.
17. Cocktail box subscription — from $50
For the cocktail lover amongst you, gift a one-off cocktail box or a monthly subscription for three, six, or 12 months. Cratejoy has a few options for cocktail boxes, but this one from Shaker & Spoon Cocktail Club is highly rated for a reason. This cocktail box comes with three monthly recipes and all the accoutrements needed to mix the drinks at home.
18. Personalized wine glass — from $18
Who doesn’t love wine, especially around the holidays when you get to imbibe with all your extended family? Gift a personalized wine glass to someone on your list, so they never have to guess whose glass is whose at the dinner table. These Hanukkah wine glasses come in different sizes and can be personalized with initials, a name, or a surname for a thoughtful custom gift.
Kids on your holiday shopping list would love these Hanukkah-themed cookie cutters. The set comes with a recipe booklet for ideas on what kinds of treats to make, and the molds can even be used for other activities, like painting or molding clay.
20. Jewish baby book — $10
Have a friend or family member with a newborn this Hanukkah? My First Jewish Baby Book makes a sweet gift for a family with a young baby. From traditional Jewish foods to holidays and traditions, this illustrated board book is a great introduction to Jewish culture for babies and young children.
21. Challah cuff links — $19
You could go with traditional cufflinks as a gift this Hanukkah, but why would you when you can gift these adorable challah cufflinks? These delectable handcrafted challah cufflinks from LoudCufflinks on Etsy are guaranteed to get any wearer some comments at their next bar mitzvah or Shabbat dinner.
22. Beeswax candles — $23
Hanukkiahs seem to get all the glory during Hanukkah, but the real attraction in the Festival of Lights should be the candles. While most of us are used to packages of Crayola-looking candles that come home with your kids from Jewish school or are handed out in the synagogue, anyone would love to light these hand-dipped pure beeswax candles instead.
23. Hanukkah loose tea collection — $45
For the tea lover on your list, this 8 Nights of Tea Hanukkah Calendar is a cute gift consisting of a different tea flavor for every night of the holiday. This collection comes with a variety of green, black, and herbal tea samples along with a tea strainer.
24. Spa gift set — from $36
Some people like to spend the holidays hosting and surrounded by friends and family, while others prefer to take the time to themselves to relax and unwind. This spa gift set from Etsy comes in three different sizes, each with additional products. The spa goodies include body butters, creams, candles, body oils, soaps, and more. All products are 100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly.
25. Personalized cutting board — from $65
Any good host knows that you can never have too many cutting boards! Gift your favorite host a personalized cutting board this year, such as this one from Etsy. Add your Hanukkah well-wishes, a thoughtful message, or just their names for a family keepsake. This makes a great Hanukkah gift for newlyweds or as a housewarming present as well.
26. Mini donut maker — $30
Kids love homemade sufganiyot. Then again, they usually aren’t tasked with cleaning up the post-frying kitchen mess. Enter this quick-and-easy donut machine, which prepares up to seven mini donuts simultaneously for a faster (and healthier) alternative to the original homemade sufganiyah routine.
Hanukkah gift-giving rules
There aren’t really any hard-and-fast rules when it comes to giving gifts for Hanukkah. Technically, giving gifts isn’t even a part of the holiday, but has become a tradition more recently as Hanukkah usually falls around the same time as Christmas. The custom was borrowed from the Christian holiday and adapted as a way to add a joyful element to the Jewish holiday.
Most families have their own rules and customs surrounding giving gifts this time of year. For the most part, the bigger gift-giving is reserved for children, and as they transition into adults, the gifts are more symbolic rather than expected. Still, some families like to spoil their loved ones for Hanukkah, so the kind of gift you give is entirely relative.
Rather than making a gift list and checking people off, a lot of families also turn to gift-giving games instead, where all adults attending a Hanukkah party are asked to bring a gift of a certain value and then the gifts are used for games like White Elephant. If you’re invited to a Hanukkah party with this type of gift-giving tradition, then some of the more budget-conscious Hanukkah gift ideas on our list could make for great options for holiday games.
What is a good Hanukkah gift?
A good Hanukkah gift depends entirely on who’s giving it, the recipient, and the intentions. For children, usually, the latest toy or gadget that they’ve been eyeing will surely make them happy when they unwrap their gifts. However, it’s always trickier to give meaningful gifts to adult friends and family members.
The best way to give a good Hanukkah gift is to personalize it to the recipient. Try and think of their hobbies, such as cooking, reading, or painting, and find a gift in that category. Alternatively, Hanukkah is a great time to gift something that a recipient would never buy for themselves, such as a luxury item.
Hanukkah is a special time for family and friends to get together, nosh on some oily food, and enjoy some religiously-sanctioned gambling for chocolate coins. Whether it’s the main event or just a sideshow at your holiday gatherings, Hanukkah gift-giving has a way of making your loved ones feel excited and appreciated.