Hanukkah is a very rewarding time for family to enjoy one another, gather around the table to eat delicious food, play games, and light the menorah each night. However, 8 days of gift giving can wear down a gal. Especially for someone like me who is always on a tight budget and couponing like crazy! Thankfully, there are some tips I can give you that will help you and your budget survive Hanukkah this season!

1. Give money.

I know—this sounds counterintuitive when you’re trying to conserve funds! But money, or gelt, is the traditional holiday gift for each of the eight days and the best part is that you can choose the amount that you want to give!

  • What to do: Take a look at your total budget and see what you can afford for gifts. Then take a look at the number of recipients on your list. Divide your budget by that number. Then divide that number eight ways—this is what you will give each recipient.
  • Example: For simplicity's sake, say your budget for gifts is $100. You have 10 recipients on your list, which means you have $10 allotted to each recipient. Here, each person can receive a gift worth $1.25 on each of the eight days—or $1.25 in cash on each day.

2. Give chocolate money.

For the young (and even the not-so-young) you can give gold-wrapped chocolate coins as symbolic gelt. Easy, cheap, and they’re tasty!

3. Give only to the young in your family.

On Hanukkah, traditionally gifts of money are given to younger members of the family to reward them for studying the Torah and to serve as a reminder of the spiritual purpose for money.

  • Why do this: Tradition aside, if you have a large family like I do, then this can save you some serious cash.
  • Make it fun: When I was a kid, my grandmother use to give each of us $1 the first night, $2 the second night, so on and so forth. This totaled $36 per child. She would then take us to a store to purchase a toy with our $36. It was a fun way for us to learn the value of money!

4. Give a living gift.

Teaching the next generation to care for our shared planet is one of the most beautiful gifts you can give—plus it’s fun and can be very inexpensive even for multiple recipients!

Gift ideas:

  • Seed-starter kit: Give each child a seed-starter kit and teach them to grow their own plant (for an eight day gift, try a small herb garden where they plant a new seed each day!).
  • A small pet: A goldfish, hamster, or other small pet can be a great gift for a group of young people. It makes them work together to make sure the pet is cared for.
  • An adoption: Local zoos and nature parks often offer adoption certificates—these can be quite inexpensive and fun, especially when you include a trip to go visit the animal you’ve "adopted!"

5. Give practical presents.

Pens, pencils, socks, scarves, notebooks—these are perhaps not the most exciting of gifts, but they are very practical and every young person needs them. Plus, it’s easy to find these items cheap and often at local dollar stores!

6. Give parts of one bigger gift each day.

My dad loves to use this strategy when giving gifts to my Mom. He likes to wrap each part of a present separately (for instance, if he buys her a whole outfit, he'll wrap the skirt in a separate box from the blouse). You can even make it more fun by having the recipient guess what the "whole gift" is each day!

7. Ask each child to make their own wish list.

If you can give each child a gift budget that is "theirs"—say $10 to spend any way you would like—this helps to teach basic budgeting principles and empowers them to spend the funds on something they really want (or put it into savings towards something bigger they want even more).

8. Give a donation in the recipient's name.

It’s traditional in Judaism to give to charity during Hanukkah and it originated to help poorer members of the community afford candles. Today, it can be expressed in many ways to help animals, people, and the planet.

Ideas:

  • Let each child select their own charity (you may want to come up with a few options for the very young to pick from).
  • Invite the children to go in together to select one charity to donate to as a group.
  • Get together as a family to select a charity you will donate to on behalf of your loved ones.
  • Make a donation on behalf of your children (perhaps of school supplies or coats) to children in need either at home or abroad.

 

This is a post by Shannon from Texas. If you’d like to see your articles on KCL (and get paid!), please send your original editorials to Contributors@TheKrazyCouponLady.com.