If your kids become greedy gift monsters around Hanukkah, you have failed miserably as a parent.
Relax! We’re only kidding! The truth is, if your kids are all about the presents during the Festival of Lights, you are so not alone! We’ve been there, and we’ll help you through it.
If you’re looking to avoid eight nights of gift-related mayhem, we asked fellow Kveller moms about their methods for striking a balance between presents (giving and receiving), spending some QT as a family, and doing some good deeds. Check out these tried and true alternative options that fellow Kveller mamas have used:
1. Small gift night
Give something simple, like a book, pajamas, or a puzzle — whatever inexpensive but meaningful gift works for your little ones.
2. Pick a charity night
Choose a charity with your kids and make a donation with their input. This can be to a worthy children’s charity such as Toys for Tots, agencies collecting for families that lost everything in the wildfires, or a Kiva micro-finance gift certificate. Letting your kids choose can be fun and empowering for them and an insight into other families’ realities.
3. Visiting night
Take your kids to celebrate Hanukkah in a Jewish nursing home. They can light candles with the residents, and bring cards or drawings.
4. Animal night
Ask your kids to pick an animal to “adopt” via the World Wildlife Federation. They’ll even send you a stuffed animal! Or you could give to Heifer International and explain how giving an animal not only provides food to a family but can change the course of a family’s life.
5. Make a gift night
Pick a night to create gifts for their friends and family. Some ideas include soap, cookies, hand warmers, or dog toys. Whatever you think they’ll enjoy making the most!
6. Experience night
Give them the gift of an experience. For instance, this can be a museum membership, manicure date with mom, or a visit to a rock-climbing gym. It doesn’t actually need to happen that night, but pick a date so they know it’ll happen soon.
7. Collect and share night
Have your kids clear out old toys they no longer want and then donate them to a children’s home or a school. Giving is better than receiving!
8. One gift they really want night
It is actually fun to give your kids something they really, truly want (see above!). You can save this for the last night so they have a special treat to look forward to. If that kind of build up doesn’t work for your kids, go ahead and do this earlier in the week.
Thanks to the parents of the Kveller Moms group for sharing these great ideas! Join the group here to ask more questions about Hanukkah — or whatever Jewish or parenting questions you may have!