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Hanukkah is, without a doubt, one of the best winter holidays. Eight nights of celebrating with friends and family members, in person or virtually, simply cannot be beaten. However, it can be daunting due to the long-standing tradition of giving a small gift for each of the eight nights. I know that buying gifts can be stressful, and so have compiled a list of tried-and-tested gifts that are universally loved, relatively easy to source, and inexpensive. While it is not realistic to buy gifts for every night of the holiday, here are my eight dependable recommendations.

1. Fuzzy socks

Fuzzy socks are always a win when it comes to holiday season gifting. In the cold December months, soft, fuzzy socks help create a gorgeous cozy vibe. They also come in tons of fun patterns, so you can be creative with what you buy. Additionally, they are usually pretty stretchy, so you have more flexibility when guessing someone’s size.

2. Hanukkah candles

Most families celebrating Hanukkah light more than one menorah, and usually go through several packs of Hanukkah candles. So, why don’t you chip in? Buying candles is an easy and inexpensive way to contribute to the Hanukkah festivities and add a personal flare.

3. Menorah

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It follows that another on-brand gift would have to be a menorah. No night of Hanukkah festivities is complete without them. A small, decorative menorah is both an easy and cheap purchase and helps add to the Hanukkah spirit. If you’re looking to dedicate more time to your Hanukkah gifts, you can even paint and decorate a menorah yourself!

4. Blue light glasses

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In light of the chaos of 2020, most of us are constantly looking at screens, which emit blue light. Long term exposure to blue light can cause damage to your retinas and cause vision problems down the line, not to mention the problems it creates for your sleep cycle. So, why not treat your loved ones to the gift of headache prevention and eyesight protection with this easy and fashionable fix.

5. Bake!

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Jewish cuisine boasts some of the world’s most decadent desserts. Why not try your hand at a babka or some rugelach? Honestly, who doesn’t love a box of homemade cookies for a gift? Dive into the Hanukkah spirit by making some menorah or dreidel shaped cookies! Plus, you can save some for yourself.

6. Winter essentials

Whether it is a nice pair of flannel Pajamas, a scarf, or a pair of gloves, gifts to help make the cold weather slightly more bearable will likely be well appreciated. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go extra wild and get a friend a quirky, over-the-top Hanukkah themed sweater!

7. Bath bombs

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Provided the person you’re buying a gift for has a bath, bath bombs are a cheap yet indulgent gift to buy. At Highland Soap Co., on Market Street, you can take advantage of the holiday deal and get two bath bombs, handmade in the Scottish Highlands, for five pounds.

8. Books

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If you know someone well, chances are you’ll be able to know how to search for a book they will like, and considering the current global circumstances, many of us have some extra time to stay indoors and read a good book. Toppings & Co., in St Andrews, sells small Penguin Modern books, one pound each, providing a glimpse into the writings of some of the most well-known authors. I would highly recommend The Problem that Has No Name, in which Betty Friedan, a Jewish activist and writer, delves into the illusions of the perfect 1950s housewife. In total, it is just 53 short pages, and a wonderful, easy read.  

Anya Fonstein

St Andrews '23

Anya is a third-year studying Modern and Medieval History at the University of St Andrews. Originally hailing from Brooklyn New York, Anya began writing for her school newspaper at the start of high school and has been committed to journalism ever since. She is an avid baker and enjoys the eating part just as much as the baking part!
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