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Dec 8 2011

Hanukkah Gift Guide: Presents for ZAYDE

By at 2:14 pm

grandpa with golf club

Beyond golf paraphernalia.

Here at Kveller, we know that it can be hard to balance everything in your life–and then on top of it, people expect you to buy them gifts for Hanukkah? Not to worry, we’re here to help. This is the last in a series of Hanukkah gift guides aimed at the special people in your life. Enjoy–and happy shopping!

Buying for Zayde (grandpa) is rarely easy (unless he’s into golf, as there seems to be an endless supply of bizarre golf-themed paraphernalia out there).  Unfortunately (or perhaps quite fortunately), the zayde in our family is not into golf.  However, he was willing to share a number of ideas for Hanukkah gifts that he would like, and together we’ve made a list that should make gift-giving easy and fun.

1. It can be hard to remember family birthdays, especially as the family keeps growing. Zayde might appreciate a small notebook with birthdays and important dates pre-listed, or perhaps a laminated wallet card. (You can design the card at home, and have the lamination done at Staples, Kinkos, or any similar store for about $1.00.)2. If your Zayde is a frequent shul-goer, have the kids decorate a cover for his siddur (prayerbook).  Making a cover using a paper bag is easy and free, and the kids will have a blast with their markers, crayons, and stickers.  (Added bonus for Zayde—he’ll never lose his siddur at services again!)

3. Zaydes love their coffee.  What better way for them to show off their nachas at the office or bingo game than with a personalized mug?  We’ve had photo mugs made at Café Press, or you can also show off your little one’s art with this travel mug.  I also found this pre-made mug to be strangely appealing, or maybe it was just the giant pickle at the top of the page?

4. Speaking of pickles, how about a pickle of the month club?  (Or if pickles aren’t Zayde’s thing, how about a nice bottle of schnapps?)

5. If you’re looking for something a bit more seasonal, you might consider a menorah painted by the grandchildren.  (If Bubbe and Zayde already have 7 menorahs, you could also make a small bowl to hold cufflinks, change, buttons, or other tchotchkes.)  I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home, but there are a number of national chains and local places where you can take your children to paint ceramic pieces, which are then glazed and fired.  The prices are usually quite affordable, around $10-$40 per piece.  (Also, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids, and keep your own house clean!)

6. Zaydes love pictures, and while a nice 5×7 in a frame is always a good option, the modern Zayde might prefer a range of images loaded on to a thumb drive, which he can then transfer to his computer, smartphone, or digital photo frame.  (You probably won’t be surprised to learn that my daughter wants to give Zayde his pictures on this Hello Kitty thumb drive.) 

7. If Zayde doesn’t already have a tablet computer, you may want to consider getting him one, especially if he lives far away.  My grandmother (who is not terribly computer savvy) has an iPad, and uses it to check email, look at pictures of her great-grandchildren, and read her favorite books in large print.  iPads aren’t cheap, so if you’re looking to spend a little less money, you may want to consider the new Kindle Fire, which retails for $199.

8. While there are many great *things* you can get Zayde, he may already feel as though his life (and home!) are plenty full.  In that case, you may want to consider a few coupons for trips to the playground, ice cream dates, or even computer lessons for Zayde.  Alternately, you may want to make a donation in his name, perhaps to a cause that is especially meaningful to him, or maybe to your local Jewish organization.  If you’re looking for ideas, the American Jewish World Service fights poverty, hunger, and disease around the world, and Facing History and Ourselves combats anti-Semitism and bigotry through educational programs.

Nov 11 2011

The Blessings of Bubbes and Zaides

By at 11:12 am
baby reaching out to computer

Babies love bubbes, even via Skype.

Since Aiven was born last year my husband and I have had the tremendous honor of watching our parents become his bubbes and zaides. I know how special a grandparent-grandchild bond can be since my bubbe was the earth, sun, and moon for me.

I can still feel the self-generated wind blowing through my hair as I ran from the elevator doors into my bubbe’s waiting arms. She always had my favorite treats waiting for me: chopped egg with onion, red Jell-O, iceberg lettuce with thousand island dressing, and green olives. (So my palate wasn’t too sophisticated back then, give me a break!) She would also put on Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again” and we’d have a dance party around her apartment. Oftentimes when my parents were around I would crawl into bubbe’s bed and pretend to sleep.  I could hear her say, “Don’t disturb her. You can pick her up tomorrow.”  As soon as the door closed, she would come into the bedroom and let me know the coast was clear. We stayed up until the wee hours eating junk food, playing with her make-up, and trying on her shoes (clearly my shoe obsession predated Carrie Bradshaw!).

My bubbe passed away four years ago this month but I feel her near me every day. I can see her smile whenever I kiss my son’s chubby cheeks, and I imagined her laughing when I gave him some herring to try and he wouldn’t even go near it. As much as I miss her, her passing cleared the way for my mother to step out of her shadow and become a bubbe herself. Read the rest of this entry →

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