Mindy's Musings - Daily Escapades Through The Extraordinarily Ordinary


Mindy’s Guide To Chanukah (and Christmukah) 2016!

Suffering from Post-traumatic Election Disorder?  Yeah, me too.  Deep sigh….

Well, I’ve got the remedy!  It is my pleasure to present you Mindy’s 2016 Guide to Chanukah… and Christmukah!

My annual “best-of” includes all the food, gifts and goodies you need for a fabulous Festival of Lights!

As always, I welcome your feedback.  Please feel free to leave me a comment or tweet me at @mindylevy.

Day One

Watch faces light up as bright as a menorah on the last night of Chanukah with this fab gift basket from Challah Connection.  I listed this first in the guide because it has everything you need to kick of a great Festival of Lights:  from challah and babka to rugelach and cookies.  And don’t forget the guilt, I mean gelt!

You’re going to need those carbs heading into eight days of dreidel spinning heaven.  For a more elaborate (and slightly more pricy) gift that includes sweet and savory noshes, try the Chanukah Festival Basket.  It’s like Chanukah in a box- complete with menorah and dreidel.

In case you’re rusty on your dreidel rules… here’s a handy guide to the game:cc

Start by putting coins into a central pot or “kitty.”  You can use chocolate money (gelt), nuts, buttons or other small objects, instead.  Each player in turn spins the dreidel and proceeds as follows:

  • nun – take nothing;
  • gimmel – take everything;
  • hey – take half;
  • shin – put one in.

Chomp on some of that challah or babka and spin away.  Chag Urim Sameach!


Day Twomensch

Want to put more Funukkah in your Hanukkah?  Give yourself, or better yet, someone else, the Mensch on a Bench.

The Mench has made my list three consecutive years in a row.  I love mine, Irving, and he sits proudly on our mantel.

The word ‘mench’ literally means human being.  Given some of the behavior we’ve seen in election 2016, I think a lot of folks could take lessons from this little guy.  We in the tribe refer to someone as a mensch if they are kind, decent and reliable.  Someone who always seeks ways to help others.  It is the highest of compliments and I aspire to be one every day.

As and added bonus, the word is fun to say and rhymes with a ton of other awesome words… mench, drench, wench, stench, quench, French….  Go ahead, say ‘em.  You know you want to.  And now you will be trying to think of words that rhyme with mensch all day.  You’re welcome.

You can follow Mesch on a Bench on Facebook and Twitter.


Day Three 

Keep Calm and Eat Latkes!  Back from thoye 2013 and 2015 is Traditions Jewish Gifts!  I’ve featured the Latke Server, Dreidel Leggings, Chanukah Fortune Cookies and the Mensch mug in the past.  This year I’m changing it up a bit.

Traditionsjewishgifts.Com, an extension to a family-owned store in Pompano Beach Florida, has a ridiculously complete array of gifts for Chanukah.

Set your Chanukah table like a pro with these Challah Salt and Pepper Shakers. You’re food will taste better, really.  Made from hand painted ceramic, you’ll spice up your latkes and your table with these little loaves of love.

2016 is one of those year when Christmas and Chanukah fall AT THE SAME TIME. Mark this festive occasion with your very own Oy To The World Box Art.  This is Jewish humor at its best.  Huh?  Jewish humor is always the best!  Anyway, get this and put a smile on everyone’s face.

So visit them in Florida or online.  Seriously, you should.  Please.  No guilt if you don’t.  I’ll be ok.  Really.


Day Four

It’s good to be part of the modern tribe.  Here’s a little poem to kick off Day Four.screen_shot_2016-11-10_at_7-26-04_pm_large

Roses are reddish

Violets are bluish

If it weren’t for Christmas

We’d all be Jewish


It’s true.  And in that spirit, I bring you day Four’s fab find from Modern Tribe:  The Ugly  Chrismukkah T-Shirt/Sweater.  The best part, it’s unisex so we can ALL wear it! Oh. Em. Gee.  I LOVE this gift.  If, by some stretch, you lack a sense of humor, don’t wear this and, for heaven’s sake, go get one.

Staying with the dual holiday theme, here’s your backup plan.  Perfect for your Chanukah bush, this super unique Super Chrismukkah ornament is beautiful, rustic, and filled with the blending of two traditions It’s cut from reclaimed wood, which makes me happy.

On to Day Five!

Day Five

By now we have worked up an appetite.  Four days of candle lighting, hiding and finding presents and all around fun leave bubbe saying “Oy, I can’t cook another latke!”  Fear not, I have the answer!!  And it’s Schmaltz Deli.

Dinner could not be more traditional that brisket and latkes. Here’s what they say about it. schmaltz

The first night of Hanukkah was always the best. That meant dinner at Uncle Saul’s house. Not only did Uncle Saul have that beautiful old Menorah he brought home from Israel, but his dinner was the best of the eight nights. He let that brisket roast and then simmer all day.It was so delicious and tender. You remember topping it with lots of horseradish sauce even though your mom warned you it would be a little spicy. And don’t forget the latkes that Aunt Becky spend all day making. It was the perfect Hanukkah meal – especially when you think of the family that gathered around the table. Now Schmaltz takes the time out of making Hanukkah dinner, and you can still bring the love. Simply reheat our tender brisket and crisp latkes and dinner is served! You’ll receive one poun d of brisket, plus au jus, and 12 latkes with sour cream and applesauce.

Click here to order yours now!

Day Six

Best. Cookbook. Ever.  Sweet Noshings: New Twists on Traditional Jewish Desserts (What Jew Wanna Eat)  You NEED this cookbook.  Author Amy Kritzer puts a modern twist on Bubbe  Eleanor’s traditional cooking.  Here are just a few of the recipes in the book… is your mouth watering yet?  Yes, it is!

  • Chocolate Halva Hamantaschen
  • Lemon Ricotta Blintzes with Lavender Cream
  • Apricot Fig Stuffed Challah 
  • Manischewitz Ice Cream with Brown Butter Charoset and Manischewitz Caramel
  • Tex Mex Chocolate Rugelach
  • Honey Pomegranate Whiskey Cake
  • Dark Chocolate, Peanut Butter and Sea Salt Babka

Follow Amy on Twitter for Jewish food, tradition and humor!


Day Seven

Kindness. Benevolence. Goodwill. A smile. Something we can give to others during the holiday season and all year long.  And we should.ludnpvbt_400x400

It’s free, from the heart, you can’t buy it in a store and everyone needs it.  It’s easy to say, “Next year, I will volunteer.”  Or, “Next year, I will donate my time.  So look at your schedule and find a window where you can share this precious commodity with someone who needs it.

Here is a great site where you can find a local organization that needs your help.  It takes some planning, but we can all pay it forward.  Without spending a dime.

If you don’t have time to donate, please DO find gifts that GIVE.    I am sharing my favorite nonprofit this year, Year Up.   Year Up envisions a future in which every urban young adult will have access to the education, experiences, and guidance required to realize his or her true potential.

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education.

You can make a donation here OR volunteer to be a mentor here.


Day Eight

I always end with the same gift.  Laughter.  Everyone can give this to someone.  I challenge you to bring at least one smile to the face of a family member, neighbor, coworker or stranger each and every day.   Laughter is indeed the best medicine. It’s free, has no bad side effects and is available to EVERYONE!

"Mindy's Musings" in paperback on Amazon.comGet a copy of my book, Mindy’s Musing, free.  Tweet me at @mindylevy and I’ll be happy to send you a copy.  My little way of passing along that smile to you.

Happy Holidays and keep smiling!



There is 1 comment. Add Yours.

Wendy Gordon

Great Post Mindy! You have created a great guide with something for everyone’s different tastes. Thanks for including in your selection!

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