The manner in which this year’s Gift Guide was assembled is the manner in which these gifts are meant to be bought, received, given and enjoyed: from the comfort of home.
Chanukah, which begins on Dec. 10 this year, is the time for you to let the people that you love know that you’re thinking of them, even if you can’t be together in the way that you normally would.
If you’re looking for a funny and comfy T-shirt or hoodie, Schmattees offers a line of home goods and apparel for children and adults that combine Jewish pride and humor with a touch of chutzpah.
The name is a take on the Yiddish word “schmatte” combined with “T-shirt.” Schmattees carry a lot of funny T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, mugs and face masks in sizes from infant to 3X. T-shirts start at $18 at shopschmattees.com.
Urban Jungle gift card
This Passyunk Avenue shop is simply a delight just to walk into
(especially given the store’s COVID-consciousness): a wonderfully wide variety of plants, pots and tools that offer something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a windowsill succulent to water once a week or something more labor intensive. Urban Jungle has a kind, knowledgeable staff, and they have gift cards for the verdantly thumbed in your life.
Laura Gehl, the author of over 20 books for children, including two others about Jewish holidays, posits that one of the goofiest looking members of the camelidae family is the perfect vehicle to teach children about Chanukah. In this book, written by Gehl and illustrated by Lydia Nichols, the Llama family does everything that your family does for the holiday — spin the dreidel, eat latkes and light their menorah — but in their own llama way. You can buy it on indiebound.org for $14.99.
UGG Leda Cozy Crew Socks
I quite like the slippers that I have, but they can quickly feel too warm, and I don’t always want the feeling of wearing shoes when I’m in the house. I have friends who swear by these UGG socks. Warm, but not too warm, and cozy as can be. One pair goes for $18 at ugg.com, but you’ll get a lot of use out of these: They’re durable, according to most reviews.
If you really want to get nutty with it — and if there was ever a time to do so, it’s now — then a subscription to Trade Coffee is the way to go. Based on your coffee preferences (and it goes much deeper than just “light” or “dark”), they’ll send you one 12-ounce bag at intervals of your choosing, selecting from a list of hundreds of coffees from around the world. What sounds better than dunking your Marzipan Bakery rugelach into a delicious cup of coffee from, I don’t know, Malta? Anyway, your first bag goes for $12.50, with free shipping and 30% off from drinktrade.com.
‘Dessert Person: Recipes and Guidance for Baking with Confidence’
The former “Bon Appétit” star Claire Saffitzhas released her first cookbook, a gorgeously photographed slate of recipes that are uniquely arranged; besides the typical separation of sides and starters, there’s a matrix at the beginning of the book to help you determine the difficulty of the recipe and the time it should take to complete. In other words, an efficiency matrix that asks how much you really want to bake a babka-challah mash-up called a Babkallah. “Dessert Person” is available on bookshop.org for $32.30.
Fur is a little iffy, ethically speaking, but there’s nothing iffy about it aesthetically. In a winter that’s going to involve untold levels of sitting on the couch — or staying warm for an outdoor hangout on a chilly evening — these stylish throws are a good way to stay cozy. Prepare to hibernate! These start at $60 at westelm.com.
The thing about Netflix, Hulu and every other movie streaming service is that the overwhelming glut of movies can only mask the lack of quality for so long. How many hours of scrolling have been lost on streaming services, staring at row after row of stinkers? Criterion Channel is the service that picks the highest quality movies, and offers selections from around the globe. This is the antidote to the feeling that there’s nothing good to watch, and it’s $10.99 per month at criterionchannel.com.
Chocolate rugelach from Marzipan Bakery
If someone in your life reads “chocolate rugelach from Marzipan Bakery” and says something like, “Well, why not mix it up and try the cinnamon ones?” cut that person out of your life, because they do not have your best interests at heart. Don’t reinvent the wheel here; go ahead and order some of the best rugelach on the planet to your front door. $14.99 on amazon.com gets you a package of 12.
Periwinkle flower seder plate
This seder plate, which comes with a platter and six small bowls, is only available in the National Museum of American Jewish History’s online gift shop. It is certainly a hopeful gift, the hope being that by March 27, 2021, the world will allow Jews everywhere to come together once in again for joyous seder meals. Not that there wasn’t joy to this past year’s celebration, but still, this seder plate is pretty enough to be enjoyed by as many people as possible, in person. Find it for $112 at judaicashop.net.
Wood Shtender with Golden Design
If you don’t already own one, you’ll find that this is more useful than you realize. When you’re setting up in the kitchen with your copy of “Dessert Person,” it’s nice to not have to prop the book up against a backsplash or lay it flat on the counter. If you have to read at your desk, which you’re probably doing more of these days, a shtender is a good way to make sure you’re not straining your neck. This beautifully designed shtender from Eichler’s goes for $31.95 on eichlers.com.