Annual News & Schmooze Hanukkah Gift Guide

Image: Kara’s Closet

Ellen Futterman, Editor

No more procrastinating. It’s time to get serious about Hanukkah shopping, as the start of the festival of lights is less than two weeks away. 

I’ve once again channeled my shopping super power, and also enlisted help from Hanukkah Harriett (a.k.a. the Light’s editorial and development assistantElise Krug). 

Together we’ve pored over websites and catalogues and clocked many hours scouring stores and holiday sales large and small, looking for eight special gifts for eight special nights. 

So without further ado, here’s Editor Ellen’s 8th Annual Hanukkah Gift Guide. 

Onesie of a kind

Each year we try to spread the love among local crafts people who use their imagination — and their hands — to create unique Hanukkah gifts. This year we stumbled across Kara Sussman, who designs Hanukkah-themed onesies for babies ages newborn to 24 months as well as T-shirts for kids and adults and tea towels under her brand Kara’s Closet. 

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“I’ve been doing this kind of stuff forever,” says Sussman, a Creve Coeur resident who teaches family consumer science at Parkway North High School. “I made my nephew a onesie and all of my sister’s friends started asking her where they could buy them so I decided to start selling them.” Those interested can choose among four different sayings: “Oy to the World,” “I Love You A Latke,” “This is How I Roll” and “Happy Challah Days.” 

Depending on the size, onesies and T-shirts run between $20 and $30; tea towels are $10. To order and for more information, email: [email protected]. By the way, Sussman’s sister is Rabbi Deena Sussman Berezin, who served as rabbi educator at Central Reform Congregation before leaving for Temple Israel in Omaha, Neb. where she is an assistant rabbi.

Hanukkah Ts

Hanukkah sweaters are so last year. This year, consider paying tribute to your favorite Jewish food. BootsTees, based in Williamsport, Pa., makes all-cotton T-shirts depicting the names and nutritional value of Hanukkah food favorites, including potato latkes, brisket, gelt and challah. Choose from six possibilities (gefilte fish and matzo balls round out the selection). Available in adult, child and baby sizes, prices of the Ts range from $22.95 to $25.95, plus a few bucks for shipping. For more information and to order, go to https://etsy.me/2P9Dy8s. 

In addition, Helene Spetner and Amy Doughty, the mother-daughter team behind St. Louis T Shirt, are offering royal blue long-sleeved Ts for Hanukkah with silver lettering that says, “Oy to the World.” They can be purchased, for $20, at the business’ office in University City at 6262 Olive Blvd.  

Kosher cosmetics

While perusing one local holiday bazaar, we came across Amy Gill selling Arbonne, a skincare and nutrition line that prides itself on delivering “a holistic approach to healthy living, inside and out, with cleaner formulas for better skincare results and plant-powered nutrition.” 

The upshot: Arbonne’s products are vegan, gluten-free and certified kosher. The company offers all kinds of bath and body products, shampoos, conditioners and make-up, as well as nutritional drinks and teas. We really like the make-up in particular, especially the lipstick, lip-gloss and mascara, but we’re fast becoming fans of it all. Check it out at www.arbonne.com.

Box this

We’ve noticed a trend this holiday season in curated subscription boxes. Style influencer Rachel Zoe offers her Box of Style delivered to the doorstep of subscribers every three months for an annual price of $349 or $99 quarterly. Fabfitfun (www.fabfitfun.com) boasts beauty, wellness and fitness product boxes for $49 delivered four times a year ($179 annually) while Causebox (www.causebox.com) subscribers receive a box each season ($49.95; $199.80 annually) filled with socially conscious products.  Part of the allure is the edited nature of the box’s products, which are said to be valued at about quadruple the subscription cost. 

For Hanukkah, why not consider Jewish Holiday Boxes, which allow subscribers to purchase a box for one Jewish holiday or as many as eight (think Purim, Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Sukkot and more). The Hanukkah-only box, for $49.90, contains materials to make a menorah out of polymer clay, along with candles to light each night, dreidels you can design with emojis, recipes for latkes and sufganiyot and more. To order and for more information, go to www.daysunited.com.

The ultimate six-pack

No, we’re not talking beer but rather ways to get rid of that beer belly. The Jewish Community Center (www.jccstl.org) is offering $100 off its Ultimate Six Pack — three nutrition sessions and three personal training sessions — for $299 (versus $399). The promotion goes through the end of January and recipients have one year from the date of purchase to use it. 

PAWtrait

For the animal lover on your Hanukkah list, look no further than a hand-drawn artist quality Giclee print by local artist Rachel Kranzberg Miller. You supply a photo of Fido and a theme, and Miller does the rest. She’ll create an original drawing of your pet with personalized backgrounds. Prices starting at $90 for 12-inch x 12-inch or 8 x 10 print.  Custom sizes are available.  Connect through email at [email protected] or call 314-401-1716.

Heavy metal

Scott and Stephanie Rhea, who are members of Temple Israel, have created beautifully crafted, unique menorahs, candle holders and other Judaica items made from plasma-cut metal as part of their business, Cakes Metal Whimsies. Menorah prices range from $79 to $120. They also offer whimsical metal wall art as well as garden décor in a variety of finishes. Check out their website atwww.cmwhimsies.com. For more information, email [email protected] or call 314-302-7966. 

Past, present and future

We’re not students of Kabbalah but those who are say tarot, numerology, astrology and the like are based on principles of this interpretation of Jewish mysticism. Regardless, we think having your cards and/or numbers read would make a unique Hanukkah gift for family and friends and we have just the person to do it. 

Professional astrologer Kathy Berg, who is Jewish, boasts 35 years of experience in metaphysical science. She offers all kinds of astrological consultations, ranging in price from $125 to $185 for an hour-long session, along with tarot card readings and numerology (prices vary depending on length of time and particular service). To make an appointment or for more information, call 314-913-0151 or email her at [email protected]