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Make every night one to remember with these delicious ideas.

By Stacey Ballis
December 11, 2020
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Hanukkah can be a bit fraught when it comes to gift giving, because there is the implication that eight nights means eight gifts. And while I completely endorse anyone who wants to take that on (especially in my favor), I also know that there is a reason that Jewish kids everywhere always end up with at least one or two days of mittens or socks. It can be really hard to think about what to get someone for one gift, let alone eight. The good news is that while your kids might have those expectations, chances are the other folks in your life do not, so don’t stress yourself.

Hanukkah Cookies
Credit: Getty / sbossert

I think of Hanukkah as eight different opportunities. Think of giving thematically, most especially if you are tackling an eight-gift approach. Need some quick inspiration for the Hanukkah foodie in your life? Here are my eight favorite ways to think about gifting, and the things to buy right now! Choose as many as make sense for the person you are gifting.

Night One: Something to read

Women in the Kitchen Book
Credit: Courtesy Simon & Schuster

Whether a magazine subscription or a new book, start with acknowledging their minds and give them something to read since it is likely that the holiday falls on or near some time off, so new reading material is always welcome.

For 2020? I’d gift Anne Willan’s new book, Women in the Kitchen: Twelve Essential Cookbook Writers Who Defined the Way We Eat 1661-Today. Anne is one of the most extraordinary writers out there, able to pair deeply academic research with gloriously readable prose, and this book gives the reader not only interesting and compelling history, but also a look at some of the foundational recipes from each author.

Buy it here:Women in the Kitchen by Anne Willan ($21.47), amazon.com

Night Two: Something to do

Izzard
Credit: Courtesy Goldbelly

Experiences are essential, and the memories created while doing something often last longer than physical objects. Whether it is tickets to an event, a museum membership, gift cards for theater or movies, or even a homemade coupon for a walk at a local forest preserve or a picnic, think about something that can be both looked forward to with anticipation, and will be looked back upon fondly.

For 2020? Think virtual cooking classes! For me? Stephanie Izard’s Around the World Cook Along kit from Goldbelly is the way to go. Her classes are fun and interactive, the boxes with everything you need for the six recipes in the menu are included, and the dishes are delicious!

Buy it here: Stephanie Izard Around the World Cook Along ($119), goldbelly.com

Night Three: Something they need

Chefs Choice Knives
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

This for me recognizes that gifting can often mean paying attention to the little things our loved ones need. This might be a replacement for something that is worn out, an upgrade for something they use all the time, or a piece of equipment that would make the things they do easier or faster.

For 2020? It is time to ensure that the cook in your life has sharp knives all the time. Right now, taking your knives to be sharpened is low on the essential errands list, if the local sharpener is even open. So, for the price of a good sharpening for your full kit, invest in a good electric sharpener for a lifetime of well-honed knives. I’ve used the Chef’sChoice sharpener forever, with three stages to ensure proper sharpness of all of my knives.

Buy it here: Chef’sChoice Trizor XV EdgeSelect ($159.99), amazon.com

Night Four: Something to eat or drink

D'Artagnan Foods
Credit: Courtesy D’Artagnan

The holidays are all about food, so gifting something edible to your fave foodie is a natural. Think of something you know they love and see if you can find an artisanal or upgraded version. Go small, a little package of macarons from a local bakery, or large, like a gift subscription to a purveyor like Omaha Steaks or Sitka Salmon Shares, or even just an amazing ingredient for them to use for future cooking.

For 2020? I’m all-in on the truffle butter sampler from D’Artagnan. With a half-pound each of white and black truffle butter, it is a gift that will keep on giving, from amping up sauces to glossing pasta to the perfect slice melting on a great steak.

Buy it here: Truffle Butter Sampler ($34.99), dartagnan.com

Night Five: Something homemade

Recipe Box
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

From a Spotify playlist to a homemade paint-by-number of their beloved pet, gifting someone something you made for them is always a hit, and super extra special. For the foodie in your life, especially if you are not someone with an artistic or crafting bent, think about how to share something personal that will have meaning for you both.

For 2020? I’d go for a custom recipe box, filled with some handwritten recipe cards of beloved family recipes. Those little index cards we all have from grandmothers and great-uncles are more than just recipes. They are a touchstone that connects us; the handwriting, the choice of ink, it is all is a gift beyond measure. Be sure to include plenty of blank cards for them to add to the collection.

Buy it here: Walnut Recipe Box ($39.97), amazon.com

Night Six: Something that makes them laugh

Frogs
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Everyone can always use a good giggle, and there are plenty of humorous gifts out there, from aprons or potholders with quippy sayings, to jokey cookbooks devoted to things like Tater Tots. Just be sure that the actual functionality matches the humor.

For 2020? Since we are all baking more than ever before, a simple tool that works and will also bring smiles is the way to go. I love this frog-shaped silicone egg separator. The wide mouth sucks up the yolk gently and then a light squeeze drops it back out into a different vessel. It works brilliantly, and always makes me laugh.

Buy it here: Peleg Design Silicone Egg Separator ($14.99), amazon.com

Night Seven: Something they want

Restaurant Menu
Credit: Getty / Constantine Johnny

If you listen, you have heard the person you are giving gifts to be specific about something they have been wanting. Everyone should get at least one gift that is on their “list” even if the list has never been written down.

For 2020? There, for me, is only one choice here. Pick a restaurant you know for sure your foodie wants very much to eat at and buy a gift card of any amount. If they are doing takeout or delivery, then your foodie will get to try them out. If not, hopefully they will be able to re-open soon, and it will give your giftee something to look forward to. (The gift card I most want is for Francie in Brooklyn, if you’re wondering!)

Night Eight: Something splurgy

Cuisinart Processor
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

The last night of Hanukkah should always be the big one. This might be the night that you give the one gift if you aren’t doing multiples, or just the most important one. This is the gift that the person would not get themselves, the one they want like it is their job, the one they will likely say “It’s too much!” the moment they tear off the paper. That big-ticket item that will make them feel extra-pampered. (I am hoping for the Breville Smart Scoop ice cream maker to find me someday…)

For 2020? The foodie in your life has been cooking day in and day out for the past ten months, so it is time to gift them a piece of equipment that they will have forever. This year, it should be the food processor of their dreams. Help to make the endless prep easier. Go for the gold: the Cuisinart Custom 14 cup, for the largest capacity and best functionality. If you really want to go above and beyond, add some extra special blades to expand its abilities.

Buy it here: Cuisinart Custom 14 Cup Food Processor ($229.99, list $365), amazon.com