Chanukah http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12848/all en-US 8 Alternative Gift Ideas for Chanukah http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4175003505_ee6561558b_z.jpg" alt="Chanukah" title="Chanukah" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="214" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>With Chanukah less than a week away, most parents are probably scrambling to find gifts for each of the eight nights of the holiday. While gifts are not traditionally part of Chanukah festivities in the Jewish faith, giving gifts each night of the celebration has become part of the festivities. It's hard to deny the influence of giving gifts on Christmas, especially if you have small children.</p> <p>Whether you are a parent who tries to minimize the adopted &quot;tradition&quot; of gift-giving during Chanukah or you are seeking some last-minute ideas, here are eight alternative gift ideas for each night of the holiday. These last-minute ideas can help reduce the stress of any gift-giving holiday, no matter what you claim as your faith. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a>)</p> <h2>1. Family Craft Night</h2> <p>Instead of giving gifts one night, make it a family craft night in which you make gifts for each other. There are plenty of crafts out there to suit children of all ages. Make a menorah or Chanukah decorations out of found objects, clay, or other materials around the house. You can always turn it into a family cooking night. Even the big kids enjoy cookies, and it gives you and your children an opportunity to spend time together.</p> <h2>2. Donate to a Charity</h2> <p>Not only is donating money one of the many mitzvahs in the Jewish faith, but it is also a great way to turn one of the gift-giving nights toward someone in need. There are many Jewish foundations, such as <a href="http://www.heifer.org/heifer-at-hanukkah/?msource=KIK4K120366&amp;gclid=CKPByMvd_rMCFQSf4Aodhm8A7A">Heifer at Hanukkah</a>, that focus on giving meaningful gifts to others on Chanukah. Organizing a toy exchange with a local charity or finding other local charity events to participate in is another way to donate your time and spend a night with your children.</p> <h2>3. Host a Potluck</h2> <p>Invite friends and family to your home on one of the nights for a potluck. This is a great way to enjoy time with loved ones and avoid a night of opening gifts.</p> <h2>4. Storytelling Night</h2> <p>Storytelling is a huge part of the Jewish tradition, and there are plenty of stories you can tell or let your children tell. This is a perfect opportunity to tell Chanukah story. Having your children participate is key for this one.</p> <h2>5. Game Night</h2> <p>Like the family craft night, a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/score-how-to-host-a-great-game-night">game night</a> is very popular during Chanukah, given all the games already built into this holiday. You can offer small prizes, such as chocolates and other treats, for the games. And of course, there's always spinning the dreidel.</p> <h2>6. Live Music Night</h2> <p>Whether you have musicians in the family or not, singing together or listening to live music is a great way to spend an evening together. If you have friends who play musical instruments, invite them over and turn it into a musical potluck night.</p> <h2>7. Kids Choice Night</h2> <p>You can always leave one night open to let your kids choose an activity that they enjoy. There are also plenty of Jewish organizations that offer <a href="http://www.canfeinesharim.org/hanukkah/children-energy-activities/">alternative game ideas</a> for kids of all ages.</p> <h2>8. Other Meaningful Gifts</h2> <p>While you may try to avoid gift-giving all together on Chanukah, there may be one night when you want to give a large gift, or a few smaller gifts throughout the week. You can always find something meaningful, such as books, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-cool-diy-christmas-gifts-for-the-under-6-crowd">handmade gifts</a>, or toys made by charitable organizations.</p> <p>The trick to avoiding the materialism and stress that tends to go along with holiday gift-giving is to get your children involved. If you are buying a gift for a friend's child and aren't sure what to give, ask the parents first. Many Jewish families differ on ideas about involving gift-giving as part of the Chanukah celebration, but it's safe to get a small or modest gift.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-watson">Ashley Watson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/31-great-gifts-that-keep-on-giving">31 Great Gifts That Keep on Giving</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-can-buy-with-5000">What You Can Buy With $5,000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-smart-ways-to-save-on-maternity-clothes">7 Smart Ways to Save on Maternity Clothes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Lifestyle Shopping alternative gifts Chanukah holiday gift ideas Tue, 04 Dec 2012 11:00:33 +0000 Ashley Watson 959601 at http://www.wisebread.com Teaching Children About the "Other" December Holidays http://www.wisebread.com/teaching-children-about-the-other-december-holidays <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/teaching-children-about-the-other-december-holidays" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/342794044_eaec653587.jpg" alt="Kwanzaa" title="Kwanzaa" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When most of us think of December holidays, we automatically think of Christmas. We see visions of Christmas trees, reindeer, and, of course, Santa Claus. However, there are many other holidays celebrated in the month of December. By teaching our children about the holidays other than the ones we celebrate in our own family, we can help them to embrace diversity and better understand the increasingly gobal and diverse world around them.</p> <p>We are all familiar with our own family traditions. If we celebrate Christmas, we most likely decorate a Christmas tree every year. We may bake gingerbread cookies or go to church to listen to the Nativity Story. If we celebrate Chanukah, we probably light a menorah. Often though, we don't know a lot about the traditions that are associated with holidays other than our own, and this can make it difficult to teach our children about them.</p> <p>Don't worry; you're in luck! I've compiled a list of five of the most commonly celebrated December holidays. You will also find a brief description of each and plenty of ideas and activities to help both you and your child branch out and learn more about December celebrations around the world.</p> <h2>Christmas</h2> <p>In the United States, Christmas is the most commonly celebrated December holiday. Some families celebrate primarily by giving gifts and waiting for Santa Claus, while others focus more on Christmas as a religious celebration of the birth of Christ. If you don't usually celebrate Christmas, but want to teach your child about the holiday, you might start by reading the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&amp;field-keywords=nativity+story">classic tale of the birth of Jesus</a> or even by attending a Christmas service at a local Christian church. Or if you want to take a less religious approach, decorate a small tree and exchange gifts on December 25. You could also <a href="http://crafts.kaboose.com/holidays/christmas/#tabs">make your own Christmas ornaments</a> or bake and decorate some traditional Christmas <a href="http://www.joyofbaking.com/GingerbreadMen.html">gingerbread men</a>.</p> <p>Christmas is a celebration of &quot;peace on earth&quot; and &quot;good will toward men,&quot; an important message to share with children no matter what your beliefs.</p> <h2>Chanukah</h2> <p>Also known as Hannukah, this is one of the most important holidays in the Jewish faith. Chanukah is an eight-day festival designed to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. The holiday commemorates the victory of a small group of Jews over a powerful Greek army, and the miracle of the one-day supply of oil that burned for eight days.</p> <p>For ideas about how to teach kids about this Jewish holiday, visit the kids section of the website <a href="http://www.chabad.org">www.chabad.org</a>. You'll find Chanukah games, activities, recipes, and stories that are geared directly toward a younger audience. You can learn how to build your own menorah or make your own latkes, and children can even listen to an audio version of the Chanukah story, <a href="http://www.chabad.org/kids/article_cdo/aid/448618/jewish/Miracle-of-the-Maccabees.htm"><em>Miracle of the Maccabees</em></a>.</p> <h2>Kwanzaa</h2> <p>Unlike Christmas and Chanukah, Kwanzaa is not a religious holiday. It was developed in 1966 by <a href="http://www.maulanakarenga.org/">Dr. Malauna Karenga</a> as a way for African-Americans to connect with and celebrate their African roots. Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration of <a href="http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/NguzoSaba.shtml">Nguzo Saba</a>, the seven principles of African family, community, and culture. Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1 through the lighting of a special menorah called a kinara. Often, homes are decorated with colorful African cloths of black, red, and green, and people sometimes dress in traditional African clothing. Children usually receive small gifts that are symbols of their African heritage.</p> <p>Visit <a href="http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml">The Official Kwanzaa Website</a> to find more information about this holiday, or visit the educational website <a href="http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/kwanzaa/">Apples 4 the Teacher</a> to find all sorts of Kwanzaa activities for kids, including craft ideas, book suggestions, coloring pages, crossword puzzles, and articles about gift ideas and how to decorate for the holiday.</p> <h2>Saint Nicholas Day</h2> <p>Saint Nicholas Day is a holiday that is celebrated throughout Europe, usually on December 6. In most countries, it is meant to honor the <a href="http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=38">legend of Saint Nicholas</a>, who was known as a giver of gifts. In countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, children leave their shoes by the fireplace on the night of December 5, and awake in the morning to find that Saint Nicholas has filled the shoes with small treats and toys.</p> <p>To celebrate Saint Nicholas Day, consider letting your children leave their own shoes by the fireplace, and see if Saint Nicholas visits. Or you can <a href="http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=166">read stories</a> about the legend of Saint Nicholas, or explore the <a href="http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=76">different ways he is celebrated in different countries and cultures</a>. And, as with other holidays, you can always find lots of <a href="http://www.stnicholascenter.org/Brix?pageID=482">craft ideas and printable activities</a> online.</p> <h2>Las Posadas</h2> <p>The Mexican holiday of Las Posadas is celebrated for nine days, from December 16 to 24. The <em>posadas</em> are re-enactments of the journey made by Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, that take place each night at a different home within the community. Guests gather at a new neigborhood home each night, dressed as shepards, angels, or even Mary and Joseph, and sing songs and ask for shelter. When the hosts open their home, there is a big party with traditional Mexican foods like ponche and bunuelos, and at the end of the night there is a pinata shaped like a Christmas star.</p> <p>If you or your children play the piano, you might learn about Las Posadas by singing traditional <a href="http://cnx.org/content/m12609/latest/">Mexican songs</a>. Or consider inviting your neighbors to your home for a traditional party, or letting your kids dress up and perform their own re-enactment of the story of Mary and Joseph.</p> <h2>Tips to Share</h2> <p>If you want to introduce your children to the December celebrations and traditions of other cultures and religions, consider the following tips:</p> <ul> <li>Visit the bookstore or library to find books that you can read together, or look for educational videos or DVD's to watch.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Look on the internet for websites that offer fun, interactive experiences or printable activity pages about any of the holidays listed above.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Go through seasonal issues of parenting magazines to find a craft idea or a traditional recipe that you can make together. (Hint: local libraries often have back issues of these magazines that you can check out for free).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>For a more religious experience, consider attending a service at a local church or synagogue.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Host your own celebration and let your children help you plan. They'll learn a lot when they help decorate, cook, and prepare for a traditional party celebrating any of the December holidays.</li> </ul> <p>No matter what you do, children will love learning how other people celebrate the holidays, and chances are you might just learn as much as they do!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is post by Alyssa Chirco from our sister blog, <a href="http://www.parentingsquad.com/">Parenting Squad</a>. Visit Parenting Squad for more parenting tips and news.</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-simple-ways-to-teach-your-children-etiquette-for-the-holidays">5 Simple Ways to Teach Your Children Etiquette for the Holidays</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/tips-for-going-saving-green-this-holiday-season">Tips for Going (and Saving) Green This Holiday Season</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-know-you-ve-overdone-it-this-holiday-season">Hot to NOT Overdo it This Holiday Season</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/5-tips-for-helping-picky-eaters-survive-holiday-dinners">5 Tips for Helping Picky Eaters Survive Holiday Dinners</a></li> <li><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/how-to-survive-your-mother-in-law-at-the-holidays">How to Survive Your Mother-In-Law at the Holidays</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/parenting-squad">Parenting Squad</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teaching-children-about-the-other-december-holidays">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-holiday-pet-dangers-to-avoid">11 Holiday Pet Dangers to Avoid</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/30-easy-holiday-crafts-for-kids">30 Easy Holiday Crafts for Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah">8 Alternative Gift Ideas for Chanukah</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-bad-money-habits-youre-teaching-your-kids">4 Bad Money Habits You&#039;re Teaching Your Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Chanukah Christmas holiday celebrations Kwanzaa Las Posadas Saint Nicholas Day Wed, 15 Dec 2010 14:00:09 +0000 Parenting Squad 389771 at http://www.wisebread.com