Hanukkah is right around the corner. The Festival of Lights begins the night of Tuesday, December 12, celebrating when the Jews reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem from the Syrians and rededicated it to the service of God, and how a single cruse of oil to light the Temple’s menorah for one night, lasted eight whole nights. This holiday celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, purity over adulteration, spirituality over materiality, and in the modern years, it has become a tradition for American Jews to give gifts on the eight days of Hanukkah.

Although there have been many debates on whether this “tradition” came as a reaction to Christmas, it’s a nice gesture to give something to the people you love who celebrate this holiday. Personally, I wanted to do something meaningful that wasn’t going to break my piggy bank. I found a very useful Hallmark guide by Penny Krugman Howard, which gives each night a different theme, so I went on a quest to tackle it.

The first night, which this year falls on December 12, is “Family Activity Night,” or as I like to call it, “bonding time.” A good idea for this is to find some sort of activity that will bring you closer either as a family or as a couple. A nice board game or a movie night. Some families and couples like to play with their Nintendo, Playstation, and other electronic devices, so getting one game that the whole family enjoys could be another way to spend the night.

Night number two is “Favorite things” night. Pretty much gather things that the other person likes. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Gift cards are also allowed on this night. If you’re giving a gift to someone who likes music, maybe you can get an iTunes gift card, or if that person likes shopping, a gift card for any store could be a great idea. According to the Hallmark page, this is supposed to be like “a Jewish version of a Christmas stocking!”

The third night is “Handmade Gift Night.” If you thought you were too old to get artsy and crafty you were wrong. Anything goes, as long as you make it yourself. You could also make coupons for hugs, kisses or even offer to walk the dog.

Night 4: “Get Cozy Night.” For those of us who live in cities where winter equals layering up, this night is the perfect excuse to get that awesome scarf or that pair of gloves to keep you warm and cozy. A cute idea is to get matching onesies. But anything from stuffed animals for the kids, to hot chocolate to keep you warm is valid. Doesn’t have to be crazy expensive or extravagant. An inexpensive idea is to YouTube a burning fireplace, get a blanket, wrap yourselves in it while sitting down and drinking hot cocoa. (If you have a real fireplace it’s even better!)

 Now, the fifth night is all about “repairing the world.” Anything that you can do to help your community. You can either volunteer at a dog shelter, offer to collect goodies for homeless people, or even clean your closet and donate whatever you don’t wear that’s in good condition to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. This last activity could be great to do as a family and remember the importance of giving to the world without expecting anything in return. Your gift will be the great sense of accomplishment when you give.

The sixth night is “Book night.” Ever since I was a kid, my family always made it a priority to gift books, and in today’s world, where technology rules and all the best-sellers are being made into movies, we barely remember what it’s like to be submerged in an adventure where you imagine the surroundings.  You get to create how the characters look like and how the world they navigate in is set up. So yes, for this night an investment will be required. Or maybe you can pass on one of your old books and dedicate it to the person you’re giving it to.

As the end of Hanukkah approaches, the seventh night tries to tackle it with laughter. “Laughter Night” is all about being funny and making the other person laugh. You can maybe get an old funny home video, or frame a funny photo. Maybe if you and your loved ones have an inside joke, you can revisit that and do something around it. As long as it makes the other person laugh!

And now, for the last night, you can give whatever you want. All is fair. The only catch is that you have to hide the gift and make the person look for it. You can use hints, clues, or even maps! But this will be a nice way to close eight nights of celebrating the festival of lights.

What do you think? Do you have any ideas that you would recommend?