Believe it or not, for devout Jews, Chanukah is a pretty minor holiday — it's not biblical, it doesn't feature traditional holiday meals, kiddush, or holiday candle-lighting, and no forms of work are forbidden. However, given its proximity to Christmas (not this year, though — gobble tov, y'all) and the fact that kids like presents, dreidl, sofganiot (glorified donuts), and latkes (which are essentially french fries made into pancakes), you can guess what happened.
The eight-day Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple is now one of the most well-known Jewish holidays, the nine-branched Menorah nearly as recognizable a symbol of the faith as the Star of David. Herein lies the tricky part: unlike Christmas, which lasts for but one day, Chanukah endures for a whole week and change. And somewhere along the way, the tradition of giving the kiddos a few coins of Chanukah gelt evolved into a ritual of one gift for each child for each night. In an era where 88 percent of kids between ages 12 and 17 are all about the tech toys, this can make for quite the expensive holiday.
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Of course, you're going to want to surprise your growing tots with some functional, yet fun new clothes, shoes, and knick-knacks, but we all know what really brings that eager glow to their eyes — unwrapping a large, weighty box containing their heart's desire. Realistically, that exact scenario ain't gonna happen every night, but there are ways to prolong the thrill.
Click through the slideshow for eight Chanukah gift ideas that'll pique their excitement all eight nights without emptying your bank account.
Read the rest over at Elizabeth Street: Chanukah Gifts For Kids That Your Little Mensches Will Love
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