Five gift ideas that offer fun for the whole family…without breaking the bank

Not all Chanukah gifts need to be expensive. Some of the best ones don’t even have to cost a dime!  

Give Time

The gift of time can sometimes be more valuable than a physical gift. A promise to babysit for a couple of hours in the middle of a Sunday is worth more to many mothers than a gift from a fancy store. Does your teenage sister need some help with her math? A coupon for two study sessions before a big test will make her happier than another new cosmetics case.  Is your son learning to drive? Swallow your nerves and schedule a personal driving lesson for his next “off Shabbos” weekend.  And for the little ones, a trip to the awesome park all the way across town on the next nice Sunday can be more exciting than a trip to the ice cream store.

The Excitement of a Prize

PrizesSometimes you do want to have everyone walk away from a Chanukah party with a tangible gift. Low-key, low-cost gifts can be fun, too.  Oriental Trading or your local “prize” store has many fun little toys that won’t break the bank. A fun way to make them more exciting is to hand out chocolate Chanukah gelt and have the children use the coins to buy prizes. Of course, when they’re done making their purchases, give them back the coins to enjoy as a bonus!

The Promise of an Unread Book

Chanukah Book Exchange Fun. Try it out at your next hannukah partyA book exchange is a way to give all the kids in an extended family something new to read without spending money. Have each family bring a selection of books and each child chooses one to borrow. If you’re super organized, have the adults create a list of books on offer beforehand and make sure there’s something new for everyone to choose.

Make the Gift a Game

Dollar TreeA fun way to encourage giving without spending a lot is take the family to the dollar store. Give each child a dollar or two and the name of a person they have to shop for. Make sure you leave enough time for some heavy duty decision-making. Once you’re back at home, have everyone try to guess which item was intended for whom. This can be fun for teens and adults, as well, if you add a twist to the gift requirements. Maybe it needs to start with the recipient’s initials, maybe it has to be related to his/her job—be creative!

One for Everyone

Jewish Family Hannukah Game Night - buy a board game as a gift.A new board game is a relatively inexpensive gift for the whole family. Make some popcorn on the stovetop, dish up some ice cream, and everyone will have a good time. If there’s a wide range of ages in the family, start with a younger level game and when the little ones are in bed, bring on a more challenging one for the older kids.  

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Esti Waldman

Esti is the camera behind the beautiful editorial pages of popular magazines and today’s most successful commercial ad campaigns for food and fashion brands. She’s also a popular family photographer and is a super creative mom with a knack for pulling together adorable outfits and amazing parties. Follow her on Instagram @estiphotography

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