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Nov 20 2013

What Tamara’s Boys Want for Hanukkah

By at 1:00 pm

As we scrambled to find the perfect Hanukkah gifts for kids this year, we thought it might be best to go straight to the source. So we asked our contributing editors to ask their kids what they really want. Here goes Tamara Reese who shares what her sons, Owen and Gil, want for Hanukkah this year.

Owen, 3.5: 

Diecast Dusty Plane ($9.88)


Me: Owen, Why do you want a Dusty plane for Hanukkah?

Owen:  “Well, one (finger pointing at me) I don’t have one of those. And two (two fingers) I don’t want to wait for my birthday and THREE (three fingers up) I also want the guy who is mean to Dusty in that movie. Can you check in your computer and order that from Amazon?”

Melissa & Doug See and Spell ($19.99) 


Daniel Tiger Figure Set ($19.95)


Engineer Ari & the Hanukkah Mishap ($7.01)

engineerman copy

Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah ($6.11)


Gil, 1:

Bath Toy Net  ($7.99)


Noah’s Ark Playmobil ($29.99)


Earlyears Roll n Swirl Ball Ramp ($14.91)


Wooden Play Menorah ($35.00)


Hanukkah Bear ($12.73)



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Nov 19 2013

Hanukkah Gift Guide: What Sarah’s Kids Want

By at 4:00 pm

As we scrambled to find the perfect Hanukkah gifts for kids this year, we thought it might be best to go straight to the source. So we asked our contributing editors to ask their kids what they really want. Up first, a wish list from Sarah Tuttle-Singer’s kids.

DISCLAIMER: Hanukkah isn’t the big present orgy in Israel as it is in the US–since we don’t compete with Christmas, we keep it simple.

So I had to pull teeth to get some responses from my kids–and in fact, I MAY have had to say “OK, fine, what do you want for Christmas.”

M’s list:

1. Four Small and one Large Assorted Dreidels ($4.59) “Ani rotsah sevivonim.” “I want dreidels,” she says!


2. Disney Princess 2-in-1 Tiana Doll ($18.99) “I want a Princess Tiana doll, because she is beautiful.”


E’s list:

1. Happy Family Midge & Baby ($75.95) “I want a Barbie with a baby in her belly.”


2. Harry Potter Firebolt Broom ($15.31) “I want to fly wid Hawy Poddah”


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Nov 13 2013

Hanukkah Gifts You’ll Want the Grandparents to Buy

By at 12:32 pm

So these gifts for kids may range a bit over your desired price point–but, hey, isn’t that what grandparents are for? Share this list with your parents and let them be the ones who spoil them!

1. Magna-Tiles Clear Colors 100 Piece Set  ($120) For kids 3 and above, these are a great way to learn mathematical spacial relationships & logic while engaging in some creative building. We promise, it’s more fun than it sounds.


2. Mini 3-in-1 Scooter ($114.99) This is the most economically savvy scooter we’ve ever seen. It “grows” with your kid–you can adjust the height and handlebars as he/she gets taller. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 12 2013

I’m Buying My Girls a Bunch of Plastic Toys for Hanukkah & I Don’t Even Feel Guilty

By at 1:59 pm

plastic dolls

Two years ago, I wrote these words in a post for Kveller: “We’re trying something new this year. Instead of giving gifts, we’re going to focus on experiences that honor Hanukkah for what it is, and don’t try to make it into something it’s not.”

Last year, I wrote a post titled, “An Obscene Amount of Princesses for Hanukkah” in which I described buying a ton of plastic Disney Princesses for the girls. After a long paragraph expounding on all of the possible problems with these toys, I finished the post by writing, “It’s certainly not my job to make them happy. But sometimes I get tired of following the rules and always trying to do the right thing. Sometimes I want to do something for my girls for no other reason than it makes them happy. Because that makes me happy, too.”

Hanukkah comes early this year (in case you hadn’t heard), so I’ve been hoarding toys from the discount racks at TJMaxx and CVS for a few weeks now. The pile in our basement now includes: plastic figurines of Doc McStuffins and all of her little stuffed friends, a LaLaLoopsy tree house, and two bathtub-friendly mermaid/Barbie/princess dolls in the form of Belle and Ariel. I can’t wait to give these toys to my daughters–no apologies, no excuses–just straight up commercial plastic fun. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 18 2012

A Hanukkah Without Presents: A Report From the Trenches

By at 4:29 pm

“On the first night of Hanukkah, my mommy gave to me,” my 13-year-old son began singing, as the 9-year-old and 5-year-old joined him in the chorus, “Absolutely no-ooooo-thing!”

Well, it’s not like they weren’t warned.

A good week before Hanukkah started, I informed my kids that, due to the damage done by Hurricane Sandy, with people not 50 miles away losing everything they owned, not to mention the high unemployment rate, the millions of people going hungry all around the world, and the fact that my children already had so much stuff they couldn’t even manage to keep their rooms clean, there would be no Hanukkah gifts this year. Instead, we would spend the eight days of the holiday doing good deeds, and the eight nights discussing them as we lit our candles. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 12 2012

Eight Nights of Hanukkah Gift Mistakes

By at 12:45 pm

Yes, of course, anyone who gives your children Hanukkah presents is super-nice, thoughtful, and should be thanked for being such a good person. That being said, here are eight Hanukkah gifts that should be marked “return to sender.”

1. “Sand art” kit: I’ve said it before and will say it again: anyone who gives your child a sand art kit secretly hates you. They don’t hate your kid–they hate YOU. Because there is no imaginable scenario in which the opening of the box of sand art does not end with you having arguably toxic sand permanently embedded in your floor, clothing, and home generally. On the plus side, now someone no longer hates you in secret! Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 11 2012

The Fifth Night Project: Teaching Giving During Hanukkah

By at 11:15 am

box of toy donations for charityLet’s face it; in order to help Jewish children from feeling left out of the Christmas season, Hanukkah has lost much of it’s traditional meaning and has become a holiday based around eight nights of presents. Customarily, Hanukkah is celebrated with candles, dreidels, and latkes; the eight crazy nights of toys and books was only added to compete with Christmas. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 6 2012

I Never Liked Hanukkah, But I Do Like Tzedakah

By at 9:43 am

So–it’s almost Hanukkah, just about everyone’s favorite holiday. Gifts, gelt (Yidd., money), no fasting, no standing in shul for hours, no cooking for big family meals, nice lighting-the-menorah ritual.

Well, I never liked it. Despite the gifts, I didn’t like it even as a kid.

As a first generation American on my father’s side (especially grateful to this country since everyone who was not here were killed by the Nazis,) and a third generation American on my mother’s, I am a very patriotic American with a strong American identity.

But every Hanukkah, I felt like the “other.” Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 29 2012

How to Do 8 Nights of Hanukkah Without Creating Spoiled Brats

By at 5:07 pm

The Hanukkah I see in children’s books demonstrates families playing dreidel
and eating latkes while the menorah shines brilliantly in the window. Then
there’s the inevitable illustration of the kids’ utter elation when the parents unveil
a bag of gelt night after night.

The scene sounds delightful, but I can’t imagine it’s realistic in all Jewish homes. Let’s be honest: starting in October, lots of Jewish kids obsess over the “holiday” (aka Christmas) catalogues that arrive daily in mailboxes around the country.

Right or wrong, at some point this tradition of 8 nights of gifts as influenced by Christmas has become part of the Hanukkah many of us know and love. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 14 2011

Hanukkah Contest: My Worst Present Ever

By at 11:08 am

What's inside? The BEST Hanukkah gift ever or the WORST Hanukkah gift ever?

We know it’s happened to you before. You slowly untie the bow, tear the paper, and open the box, only to find the world’s worst Hanukkah gift. Is it a new iron from your loving husband? A hand-knitted sweater vest from Aunt Irene? Or perhaps it’s a childhood memory of the year when you really really really wanted the new Cabbage Patch Kid and instead you got a knockoff baby doll?

Well, Kveller is here to help. We don’t believe in bad gifts–and we want to introduce you to, an amazing website for all gifts Hanukkah, funny, Jewish, and adorable. We’re big fans of theirs–such big fans, in fact, that we’ve partnered with them to do a Hanukkah contest and give one lucky Kveller reader a special Hanukkah present. (It’s actually a gift for the whole family–some for the kids, and some for the parents.)

So to save that lucky reader from this year’s not-so-perfect-but-maybe-well-intentioned gifts, we introduce our newest contest: My Worst Present Ever. Simply tell us in the comments section below about your worst Hanukkah present, and we’ll pick a winner. Be sure to enter by Friday, December 16, and your bad Hanukkah present can turn into a great Hanukkah present.

Don’t wait–tell us now!

Your gift includes Hanukkah cookie cutters, Hanukkah window decor, a stainless steel latke server, a Lego Star Wars mezuzah, and Jewish fortune cookies… yum!


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