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Hanukkah Gift Guide–It’s A Miracle!

The gift giving season is upon us, and with Hanukkah less than a week away, the pressure to buy presents, bake cookies, fry latkes, plan parties, and decorate the house with twinkling blue lights and dreidels started before I polished off the last slice of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

Of course, the real miracle of Hanukkah is about the rededication of the temple in ancient Jerusalem following the Maccabean victory over the Syrian army. But the other miracle is to not give into the overindulgence of the holiday season, including spend too much money on material things.

I’m always looking for ways to make the holidays less stressful and more meaningful, and this year I want to try a new tradition that I actually learned from other families who celebrate Christmas.

It’s called “Simple Gift Giving.” I know, sounds like an oxymoron, especially when I’m used to giving a present for each night we light the menorah.

The idea is to have our children narrow down their wish lists to include items from four categories:

  • WANT
  • NEED
  • WEAR
  • READ

Obviously, it’s best to start this routine when our kids are in preschool and still get excited about footsie pajamas and a wooden puzzle. It gets a little trickier when they’re already teenagers and their idea of a toy includes WiFi and practical underwear comes from Victoria Secret instead of a Hanes six-pack.

Each year, families can customize the list to meet their needs, and I’ve already added four more categories to round out the eight days of Hanukkah:

  • EAT
  • PLAY
  • GIVE

For example, CREATE our own menorah; EAT sufganiyot  (jelly donuts); PLAY a favorite game or poker dreidel; and finally, GIVE back to the community, such as collecting canned goods for the food pantry, serving a meal at Ronald McDonald House, or hosting game night at HavenHouse.

How do you keep Hanukkah fun and festive without overindulging your kids?