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Nov 14 2013

Let My Hanukkah Go!

By at 10:40 am

hanukkah cupcakes and presents

I’m a Hanukkah purist. At least a purist from that sacred era of the 1980s, a time before the expression “Hanukkah craft” entered the average Jewish mother’s vernacular.

My parents and my friends’ parents knew that Hanukkah could never compare to Christmas. I don’t remember this community-wide hand-wringing over how the Jewish children could accept why radio stations and stores exclusively played Christmas music without including some versions of Dreidel Dreidel and Maoz Tzur. Nobody was worried about hurting Hanukkah’s feelings or making sure everyone’s holiday got the same size participation trophy every December.

I believe that the visual nature of social media platforms has made the Christmas-Hanukkah comparison significantly worse than in Hanukkahs past. I’ve seen Hanukkah-themed gingerbread houses and gingerbread cookies on Pinterest for goodness sake. While I realize there is no right and wrong way to get jazzed up about Hanukkah, I have to draw the line at gingerbread houses. I mean, come on. Read the rest of this entry →

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 →

Nov 11 2013

Everything You Need for Your 2013 Hanukkah Party

By at 5:02 pm

Throwing a Hanukkah party? Well, we have the party favors and gifts you’ll need to have one gelty rager!

1. Hanukkah cookie cutters ($5.39) Break out the rolling pins and sprinkles. These large cookie cutters will make some seriously delicious dreidel and Jewish star-shaped cookies!


2. Elope Menorah Glasses ($9.99) Usually you seem like you’re hiding a black eye or avoiding eye contact when wearing sunglasses inside–but these will be fun to wear around the house and you’ll get great photos of your kids modeling them. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 7 2013

Hanukkah Gift Guide: Thanksgivukkah Goodies

By at 5:05 pm

Unless you plan to live for another 80,000 years, this is the only Thanksgivukkah we’ll see in our lifetime–all the more reason to get as festive as possible for this mash-up holiday. Below you’ll find our tricked out gift guide for the Gelturkey lover in you.

1. Menurkey Menorah: Plaster Edition ($50). It’s the official menorah of Thanksgivukkah, and your kids can make it their own with acrylic paints!

menurkey thanksgivukkah

2. Thanksgivukkah Kids T-shirt ($29) Every once-in-a-lifetime occasion should be marked with a t-shirt, no? Celebrate eight days of light, liberty, and latkes with the official Thanksgivukkah t-shirt (and they make them for adults, too!). Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 4 2013

Hanukkah Gift Guide: For the Hipster Toddler

By at 5:02 pm

hipster toddler black glasses

If your toddler is the proud owner of 3T skinny jeans, black-rimmed glasses, or anything with a mustache on it, let’s face it: you’ve got a hipster toddler. This Hanukkah, embrace their cool factor with some of our favorite gifts for the trendy toddler set.

1. Converse All Stars for kids ($23-$45). These Chucks are perfect for the little hipster who can’t tie his shoes yet. Pair with skinny jeans and BAM, you’re ready to walk the streets of Brooklyn. Bonus gift? The Retro Pillow Hightop ($19.00) so they can look fly even when they nap.

converse all stars for kids

2. Little Yids Chanukitty Hanukkah Sweater ($38). Now that we’ve got the shoes covered, let’s take care of another hipster classic: the ugly holiday sweater. To be honest, this one isn’t even that ugly. In fact, it’s pretty darn cute. Also of note: the Little Yids Spinmaster SweaterRead the rest of this entry →

Oct 30 2013

Why This Jewish Mom is Excited for Halloween This Year

By at 12:04 pm

instaghoul halloween decoration

Walking down the street here in Brooklyn, we are practically under a Halloween assault. It’s a riot of pumpkins, multicolored cobwebs, skeletons, and scarecrows. My 4-year-old calls out her favorites (pink cobwebs, in case you were curious) and even the baby can point to the pumpkins. There’s a house five blocks away that turned their entire front stoop into a pirate ship with a skeleton crew, and the witty folks on our walk to school have a spooky version of Instagram (they call it Instaghoul, and I giggle inside every morning).

I grew up celebrating Halloween. In fact, I never knew it was something that some Jews didn’t do until I got to college and someone lectured me on how its pagan origins made it something that Jews specifically shouldn’t do. I suppose that’s true—Halloween certainly was once something deeply religious, and not for the Jews. But that’s just not how it feels these days, at least to me. The majority of those celebrating Halloween in America aren’t doing it for religious reasons anymore. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 24 2012

Celebrating Christmas with My Jewish Grandmother

By at 5:09 pm

stockings“Mommy, is Grandma Dede Christian?”
“No, sweetie, she’s not. She’s Jewish.”
“Then why are we doing Christmas with her?”

This is the conversation I had with my 4-year-old daughter the other night over dinner. Grandma Dede is my beloved paternal grandmother, and today we are driving to New York to celebrate Christmas with her and the rest of my extended family. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 20 2012

The Jewish Mother’s Guide to Surviving Santa

By at 5:03 pm

santa clausAs someone who learned English from watching TV, wrote a Master’s Thesis about TV, then worked in TV, I feel I can say with certainty that Christmas specials, be they rip-offs (sorry, homages) of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Carol,” or “Miracle on 34th Street,” all share a common message: Nonbelievers Snooze, Nonbelievers Lose. 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 →


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