It’s finally here! My ultimate Chanukah gift guide for 2010, with great presents that will make the loved ones in your life oh so happy they have 8 nights of the holiday to celebrate! As you may recall from my previous post, the categories of presents are pretty specific to what I have to buy in real life. Also, these gifts are great for people who live both in the United States and here in Israel.
Without further ado, here are my picks! Chag Sameach!
For the Kosher Foodie:
Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi – (less than $30, Amazon) – ! I love being able to buy a cookbook that’s not kosher per se, and be able to make almost 100% of the recipes in them! And, since reading about Chef Yotam Ottolenghi, I’ve been hankering for his latest book. Ottolenghi is currently establishing himself as one of the most exciting new talents in the world of cookery and food writing. In this new book, he brings an amazing collection of vegetarian recipes from his weekly column “The New Vegetarian” in London’s Guardian. Israeli both and raised, Ottolenghi himself is not a vegetarian yet his approach to vegetarian dishes are inspiring. A must have cookbook for the kosher chef who loves to spend time pouring over cookbooks!
Wireless Thermometer – ($39.95, Crate & Barrel) – If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly worried that your meat is undercooked. And, if you’re like me, that means you end up overcooking your meat, which can be disappointing. This amazing wireless thermometer is the perfect solution for all your protein needs! I have always feared those jab into the meat thermometers because, with a toddler running around, leaving the oven door open for any period of time is just asking for trouble. With this product, I don’t even have to open the oven door to get an accurate read. Plus, it has nine meat selections and five doneness levels, so when my husband asks for his steak rare, he’ll get it rare!
OXO Good Grips Sifter – ($12.99 OXO/ 110 shekel 4Ugifts) – Don’t underestimate the power of a good sifter, especially for the baker in your life. At least here in Israel, you absolutely must sift all of your flower before use. That means having a really good sifter is an invaluable kitchen tool. The beauty of the OXO flour sifter is in the design, and the fact that when you gently shake from side to side, flour doesn’t end up all over your counters!
For the Preggo
Mama Spanx Maternity Full-Length Pantyhose – ($28, Spanx) – These are the absolute best panty hose for pregnant women. Comfortable, durable and stylish, you get coverage and support, which is what you need when you’re hauling around a giant belly and standing for hours in Shul in your oh-so high heels (oh yeah, I know, you’re one of those stylish mama’s-to-be, which means you’re still stuffing your swollen feet into those Prada Mary Jane’s.) Make the Mama-to-be happy and get her enough Spanx hose to last all nine months!
Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation – ($26.00, Mac Cosmetics) – I’ve been wearing this foundation and powder in one for years, but it wasn’t until I was pregnant with Baby J. did I realize how much I needed it! Many pregnant women suffer from anemia, which lead to pale, uneven skin tone, while others suffer from horrible break-outs because of all the hormones gone wild. This product really does give a smooth, flawless, full-coverage finish. It’s great coupled with a good concealer to hide those blemishes, and perfect paired with a great blush to bring evenness and brightness to those sallow cheeks! If you don’t know what skin tone to buy, just pick up a gift certificate and let her have a make up day at the Mac counter! This product is also available at the Mac store in the Mamilla mall and at Ben Gurion airport (so definitely take advantage of Duty Free!).
Personal Shopping at Bellyssima – ($priceless) – When I found out I was pregnant, I quickly called Lisa and Amy at Bellyssima on Central Avenue in New York to help outfit this pregnancy. My maternity clothing from Baby J. was in the wrong season, and my folks were planning a trip to Israel to visit. I spoke to both Lisa and Amy and together, they pulled together a fantastic wardrobe that included a beautiful maternity dress I recently wore to DH’s cousin’s wedding. They stock some great maternity brands, including Olian, Ripe, Japanese Weekend, Noppies, Chiarakruza, Sara, Menonove and other Bellyssima exclusive designs in an array of sizes. I also never have to worry that what I’m buying won’t be modest, as they both automatically knew to ask if I needed anything to wear underneath some of the tops/dresses I bought. It was so easy and convenient to shop with them, and they packaged it up perfectly and shipped to my folks, who brought it with them to Israel without a single crease! A personal shopping appointment with these fabulous ladies is a great Chanukah present (both in-store and virtually) for the preggo in your life!
For the Jewish Hipster Mom
Jo Malone Candle Centerpiece – ($225.00, Jo Malone London) – A couple years back, I went on a date with a younger man who picked me up on Jdate and revealed about half way through that he was just looking for a hook up. Actually, I think his exact words were “I date older women I find on Jdate because they really just want to have sex”. He definitely turned me on, but it was on to the fabulous cologne he was wearing. Before the date ended, a few minutes after his indecent proposal, I walked away with the name of the fragrance (pomegranate noir) and a new loyalty to the Jo Malone brand. The Jo Malone candle centerpiece features a medley of fragrant Lime Blossom, Orange Blossom and Wild Fig & Cassis Travel Candles on an espresso wood runner. It’s elegant and beautiful, and perfect way to relax while Hipstermom is either soaking in a much needed bath or taking that rare breather when the kids are fast asleep.
Chanukah Candle Spa at the Inbal Hotel – (600 shekel per couple, Inbal Hotel) – The HipsterMom could really use a night out, but sometimes she just doesn’t want to go to dinner and a movie. With eight nights of Chanukah, there has to be at least one night when you can book a babysitter and treat yourselves to this new, luxurious Spa treatment based on aromatic candles (get it?) made from cocoa beans and Shea butter. According to the site, this pampering treatment is designed to enrich your skin, cleanse the pores and stimulate blood flow, all good things to relax that stressed out Hipstermom! The treatment includes a 60 minute massage, soak in a foam bath and free entrance to the Inbal’s Health Spa and fitness room. While I doubt anyone would want to hop on a treadmill after this relaxing treatment, it could be nice to take a swim with your beau in the covered and heated pool. Definitely not a frugal gift, but certainly a worthwhile splurge!
For the Jewish Toddler
Plush Chanukah Deluxe Set – ($17.99, OyToys) – Last year, we bought Baby J. a plush Shabbat set and she absolutely LOVES it. On Fridays, before I light candles, we set up her kit, give her a shmata to cover her hair, and togther light the candles. She enjoys it so much, I’m on a mission to purchase every single on of these kits! Next up, this wonderful plush 14 piece set that includes a menorah, candles, dreidel and gelt in a bag. The clear bag is really great, as Baby J. is up to the toting stage, and she takes it everywhere she goes!
Melissa & Doug Sushi Slicing Play Set – ($19.99, Melissa & Doug) – This year, Baby J’s English birthday falls out on one of the night’s of Chanukah, so she is going to get one big night of presents! My parents bought her a play kitchen and so we decided to fill that play kitchen with play food, play pots and pans, etc. And, since my Mother-in-Law grew up in Japan, this fabulous 24-piece wooden sushi set from Melissa & Doug is a must have play food staple of this sushi loving family! With sliceable sushi rolls, tuna, easy-use chopsticks and a gorgeous storage box, Baby J. will be serving up sushi in no time!
Western Chief Kids Rainboots – ($28, Zappos, $30 on WesternChief) – I know, I know, it’s really wishful thinking that the rains will come to us folks here in Israel. But I am an optomist and a planner, which means I’m hoping for rain and preparing in the event that the heavens should open up and dump enough water to last us throughout the year! And, if you’re gonna have rain, your toddlers MUST have the best rain boots. Something waterproof and funky, and is comfortable enough to puddle jump. I think the Western Chief Kids brand is absolutely adorable! With Batman, Spiderman, Hello Kitty and even little horsies (perfect for my Baby J), your toddler will delight to slip into these rain boots! You can also pick up an extra fleece liner for $15 to keep those little tootsie nice and toasty warm!
Virtual Menorah iPhone/iPod Touch App – ($0.99) – If the man in your life is anything like mine, his iPhone is one of his most prized possessions. And, purchasing a new app is extremely frugal and will last until Apple comes out with a whole new technology to replace the iPhone/iPod touch. I like the Virtual Menorah from Jared Bendis, it’s compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad. You can pick your candle type – anywhere from everlasting to 5 minutes, and then enjoy the holiday from wherever you may travel!
iPad – (starting at $499, Apple) – If you’re going to go all out and get an app that will work with an iPad, why not follow it up with an actual iPad? DH has wanted one for such a long time that I so wish I could afford to buy it for him this year! So, if you DO have the funds, trust me that this is the ultimate gadget that will make Chanukah 2010 the best your husband has had in a very, very long time!
Beo5 Remote Control – ($560 – Bang & Olufsen) – It should come as no surprise that this HipsterMom loves Bang & Olufsen designs. And, who doesn’t want to have a Smart House? I know DH would absolutely love being able to control everything from the temperature in Baby J’s room, to putting on the stereo and setting the DVD to record, all from one handy dandy remote control. This cost does NOT include installation of the Smart House and is for the remote control only, but boy is it the coolest gadget ever!
La Crosse Technology Weather Direct WD-3308U-WAL 4 Day Internet Powered Wireless Forecaster – ($33.89, Amazon) – If the Saba in your life is anything like Baby J’s Saba, he’s pretty much obsessed with the weather. And, come Shabbos, there’s that one day where he doesn’t have access to his favorite weather website. Enter this fabulous product, which was slashed in price tremendously on Amazon! This way, Saba knows when to put on his rain gear or when he’ll need to cover his Borsalino hat with plastic to protect it from the rain as he walks to shul!
Tea Ammo from TrendiBox – (161 +29 shekel for delivery in Israel, TrendiBox) – I met the lovely ladies behind TrendiBox at a pre-Chanukah bizarre last night in Jerusalem. I was impressed with their products and immediately rushed home, logged on, and literally purchased ALL of my Chanukah presents for DH’s family from this site. With a great selection, reasonable prices and gorgeous giftwrapping, you can’t go wrong! Saba & Savta, and Nana and Dada, and tea drinkers so this is the perfect gift for them! The set includes a fruit design tea mug with lid, earl grey Jasmine tea leaves, and sancha green tea leaves. You can purchase as many tea mugs as you need, but we think two will certainly suffice!
Shmirawear – ($29.99 for rain coat) – I heard about this Company during this year’s Kosherfest and was immediately impressed. Did you know that a pedestrian is killed every 7 seconds? That’s a horrifying statistic, and it makes me want to protect my loved one as they walk to shul. Shmirawear’s clothing is made with reflective technology, so that your loved one can be seen walking in the dark at night, and in horrible weather. The prices are very reasonable, and they have clothing for men, women and youth. Protect your loved ones this Holiday season!
Dinner for two at Scala Restaurant, David Citadel Hotel – This is one of my favorite new restaurants in Jerusalem, and dinner for two would be the perfect gift for Saba and Savta! You can call the manager and make arrangements in advance, figure the average meal including drinks and dessert runs at least 250 shekels per person, and they will mail a gift certificate to your home. Chef Oren Yerushalmi is a genius in the kitchen! A graduate of French Lenotre Culinary and Pastry School, he worked at top NYC restaurants such as Café Bouley, Grey, and WD50. Anyone who has worked for Wylie Dufresne automatically has me as a fan, I’m all about this molecular gastronomy. His Mediterranean dishes, created with French cooking techniques, is full of amazing colors, flavors and techniques. I can’t rave enough about this restaurant, it’s a MUST dining experience in Jerusalem!
Phew! There you have it! My 2010 Chanukah Gift Guide! What do you think? Let me know if there’s something you think is a must give present this year! And, don’t forget that the most important gift to give is to people in need. There are so many legitimate Jewish charities that could really use our help, both in Israel and abroad, let’s try to earmark at least one of the gifts we would purchase for ourselves and our families, for those in need!