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Did You Get Any of These Popular Gifts During the Holidays?

Penn State
Respective symbols of Kwanzaa, Christmas, and Hanukkah.

The holiday season– what does it mean to you? Maybe, it means gathering with family and friends; appreciating the cultural/religious significance of the day; feeling stressed from having to live up to all the expectations. All of these factors aside, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa all have one thing in common: gifts!

When shopping for gifts, there can be a lot of pressure on what to get. Ramapo Junior Shya Coello says that when shopping for gifts, she pays special attention to, “what they spend their time doing when I’m with them or what they like to do in their alone time …I always like to look through some of their social media to give me some ideas and inspiration.” Sometimes, apps like Pinterest and Instagram can be your best friend when looking for the right gift!

Christmas is one of the holidays celebrated by many today! Statista gathered that 50% of women and 36% of men wanted to receive money for Christmas and 42% of women and 34% of men wanted gift cards. This makes money the most popular gift to receive for Christmas!  Statista’s data also shows that clothing, textiles, and shoes are in third place. The New York Times favors Glerups slip-on shoes while Forbes advocates for the Cloud Cotton Robe from Parachute.

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a Jewish holiday that is celebrated for eight days which usually fall sometime in December. For Hanukkah, children are often given Hanukkah gelt in the form of chocolate coins wrapped in gold foil or real money (Britannica.com). The New York Times suggested that cookbooks of Jewish cuisine such as Eat Something by Evan Bloom and Rachel Levin made great gifts for Hanukkah. For a more modern approach, Glamour wrote that modern menorahs such as those by Jonathan Adler were a “timeless classic.”

Kwanzaa is a seven day celebration of honoring African-American heritage and culture, with each day representing a different principle of the holiday (Britannica.com). On the last day, gifts are exchanged, all of them aligning with the seven principles of Kwanzaa. One traditional gift is the Kinara, which is a candle holder used with red, green, and black candles, each representing the seven principles of the holiday (Real Simple.com). USA Today shares that another aspect of gift giving is handmade items for children, representing love and attention. Another popular gift for all ages are books focusing on African American history and ancestry. From childrens books like Soulful Holidays to the essays by W.E.B Dubois in The Talented Tenth there are many great options (Reader’s Digest and RealSimple.com)!

Through all of the holidays, it is important to not lose sight of the purpose in gift-giving. Ramapo’s Digital Design and Animation teacher Mr. Mungiello says that to him “gifts are reassurance that we are heard, loved, and ultimately…not alone.” He adds, “Everyday is an opportunity to get gifts and then give them back to those in need of them.”

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