For Father’s Day 2019, I gave my dad a bag of teeth. Before you panic, they were mine. I had recently moved back home after college and was cleaning out my childhood bedroom when I uncovered a plastic baggie full of tiny, yellowing shards — the baby teeth that, as a child, I had insisted the Tooth Fairy let me keep.
Somehow I connected this discovery with the fact that Father’s Day was coming up and that I needed a budget-friendly gift. In a moment akin to a Jimmy Neutron brain blast, I decided that I would give a literal bag of bones to my dad for funsies. A few days later, after he had opened a novel from mom and a poster of RFK from my sister, I presented my dad with my baby teeth. The experience was weird, silly, and above all, very fun.
That was when I first got a tooth for weird gift-giving. (I mean, I simply had to.) Now I see it as an art form that requires plenty of creative vision. If you’re new to weird gift-giving this Hanukkah season, or you’re frankly out of ideas, I am here to help. Here are eight unusual gifts for each night of Hanukkah.
Hanukkah Hooded Blanket (Target, $20)
There are moments in the human experience, albeit few and far between, which prove the fallibility of language; despite our best efforts, the spectrum of emotion far supersedes the vowels, consonants and punctuation with which we try, and fail, to neatly pin it down.
This is one of those moments.
The best I can do is to say that I am obsessed with this hooded monstrosity, and that I have so many questions/comments/concerns/thoughts/feelings about it. My initial thoughts, which I expressed on Twitter, still stand:
target is selling a comfy infused with the spirit of hanukkah……….and that spirit is absolutely haunted pic.twitter.com/mHH14gN3g0
— evelyn “my dad has seen a ghost” frick (@evelyngfrick) October 22, 2021
It’s almost like Target thought Hanukkah was falling close to Halloween this year, and not Thanksgiving. Regardless, I love every choice that went into making and selling this product. I love the menorah headdress which will make your child look like the High Latke Priest, and the “beige paws” (I’m quoting from the product description here) which make sense because no Hanukkah is complete without beige paws. I love that they decided to photograph it sans model. And I love that Target wants us to give our children the gift of becoming a walking fire hazard.
I could talk about this forever, but there are so many other weird and wonderful items on this gift guide to explore so we’ll take leave of the Hanukkah Hooded Blanket with these parting thoughts: Whomever invented this is a beautiful genius and they deserve all of our money.
Hanukkah Vibrator (Etsy, $20.99)
Hot take: Once you’re an adult, playing dreidel is kind of dull (unless you turn it into a dreidel drinking game). However, I’m going to guess that this game of dreidel will be significantly less boring!
While I realize that this is most likely intended as a gag gift, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sharing the spirit of sex positivity this holiday season. (As long as the intended recipient is OK with it, of course.) My only note is that “The Wet Dreidel” is neither a very creative name, nor one that really makes sense. I’ve never tried to spin a wet dreidel, but I don’t think it would work very well.
If it were up to me, I’d call this “The Hanukkah Oil” with the slogan, “See if you can last all eight nights!”
Chocolate Gelt Scented Hanukkah Pen (Jewish Museum Shop, $4)
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Imagine what a piece of chocolate gelt smells like…
OK, is it just me or does gelt have no smell??? Like, obviously chocolate has a smell, but with gelt the only smell coming to mind is more from the metallic wrapper. Or maybe I have no memory of gelt’s aroma because from the moment they are born into this world, unwrapped from their metal womb, I have shoveled them down my gullet.
Regardless, I think this is a fun gift for a co-worker you don’t know very well or maybe a distant cousin.
Hanukkah Themed Laser Light (Traditions Jewish Gifts, $39.95)
I’ve always disliked math, but Jews plus lasers is one equation I will absolutely get behind! If it were up to me, I would give every Jewish man, woman, person and child a laser. Because lasers are cool and also fuck Marjorie Taylor Greene.
Besides, Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights and this laser display is a natural extension of that!! (Though I think if someone went back in time and showed Judah Maccabee Hanukkah lasers he would probably die from fright.)
Note: home sold separately.
Hanukkah Penguin Party Crackers (PaperSource, $26.96)
For those unaware, crackers are a festive decoration, most often found in the United Kingdom or Commonwealth countries, which pop when you pull them open and reveal some fun trinkets inside. They are also more commonly associated with Christmas celebrations.
Now, I come from an interfaith family so I don’t find the Christmas/Hanukkah crossover aspect of these crackers to be weird. I actually really like that about them. What’s weird to me is……why penguins for Hanukkah?
Thankfully, Alma editor Molly cleared this up for me in our Slack channel:
“hanukkah > winter > cold > penguins, obviously”
Of course, once that mystery was solved I came to the most horrible realization. In pulling the crackers apart, you’re also pulling apart the poor bird’s body. With my inquisitive mind, this leaves me with a few unsettling questions: Does that mean the trinkets inside are the penguins’ internal organs? Are we condemning these penguins to the Medieval rack for the sake of Hanukkah decorations, and what were their crimes? And, for the love of God, PaperSource, why???
Hanukkah Cactus (Etsy, $44)
From the Etsy artisan who brought us last year’s latke mouse, may I present to you: Hanukkah cactus! Not only will this cactus add a unique flair to your holiday decorations, but it will also speak directly to those who have thought, “I love succulents, but they’re just not Jewish enough.”
Funky Fresh Hanukkah Adult Hat (Amazon, $19.99)
Full disclosure, I am listening to “One, Two Step” by Ciara and Missy Elliott as I write this to get in an “automatic, supersonic, hypnotic, funky fresh” mindset. Because this hat is funky fresh!! Just look at the model’s face. That’s the face of a person who feels funky fresh.
OK, maybe not. But, at the very least, anyone who wears this will feel like the big shamash and that’s pretty cool.
Tip: Pair this hat with the doggie menorah headband from our 2021 Hanukkah Gift Guide for best results.
Hanukkah Gnome (Etsy, $22)
What’s the deal with Hanukkah gnomes?? Hopefully you read that in a Seinfeld voice, but also I am extremely serious: What’s the deal with Hanukkah gnomes? Maybe I haven’t been paying attention but I can’t remember seeing them before this year, and now they’re everywhere. They’re like the Roy Kent of weird holiday tchotchkes.
Though these don’t feel particularly Jewy to me, I like to imagine that these Hanukkah gnomes resemble what the Talmudic rabbis of yore looked like every night before going to sleep. So I might just get one of these bad boys.
BONUS: Mohawk Menorah (Jonathan Adler, $98)
It’s a Hanukkah miracle! I’ve added this bonus gift to the list because it simply had to be done.
Growing up in the early-mid 2000s, I thought mohawk and fauxhawk hairdos would last forever. Though that hasn’t proven true, you can always memorialize them with this very punk rock menorah!! (As long as you’re OK with walking through your home after all the candles have gone out and seeing the shadowy figure of a dismembered cranium on your dinner table and jump-scaring yourself before remembering that you bought a menorah in the shape of a human head. As long as you’re chill with that.)
Happy Hanukkah, weirdos!!!!