It's Lit: A Conscious Hanukkah Gift Guide

Every holiday season, I visit the lone Hanukkah display at Target. I don’t shop, I visit. I pine over the 'Oy Vey' aprons and wasteful, jelly window stickers. I hover until my spouse calls my name, trailing off into another aisle. Target knows that the modern Jew has at least a little “fear of missing out.” We want our own glitzy, holiday kitsch.

Now, this statement, my rabbi might chide because Hanukkah is not a holiday for gift-giving, wrapping paper, and materialism. The only thing we have given each other, historically, is gelt (chocolate coins). Through this loophole was born an industry and a tradition of giving Jewish kids small gifts to rival serious Christmas FOMO.

So, every year I skirt the line of celebrating the holiday as it was intended and giving into my inner Fran and kvetching—I want a gift guide too, damn it! So, here is my compromise: a list of practical, beautiful, conscious items that you can use to celebrate the miracle, your loved ones, and yourself.

We have a bevy of menorahs for you to choose from. The traveling variety, possibly, being my favorite. Each year, my spouse and I trade off holidays: Thanksgiving with one side, Chrismukkah with the other. On years in which Christmas and Hanukkah coincide, this is a lifesaver. There’s an entire outfit for your favorite gossip, complete with evil eye pin and ‘oy vey’ earrings. Pro-tip: If you don’t know one, it is you—you’re the yenta. In the spirit of this festive conundrum, you can give your favorite tyke a gift that screams “I’m the Jewish kid!” for them. You can even send your best cousin a ‘Top of the Latke’ care package or gold-brushed gelt.

On a more serious note, every holiday, I have a crisis over which candles to buy. In the past, it has been so hard to find candles (and you do need several dozen) that weren’t made from paraffin, bee, or palm wax. This year, my prayers were answered when my goy bestie sent me the soy ones on the left.

And now, the frivolous stuff. When that all too familiar pang of "What about me?" kicks in, treat yourself. Tenoverten polishes are palm-oil free; so are Au Naturale’s products. This hot pink blusher calls to me daily. A ceramic pipe for when the holidays are just a little too extra and some vegan, rainbow sandals just because. A pink toad patch by one of California's up-and-coming female artists. Oh, and a handmade Babe ring to let everyone know what you’ve known from day one.

Written by Magdalena Antuña in collaboration with Elizabeth Stilwell. Cover art by Elizabeth Stilwell.

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