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Gag Order

As Hanukkah’s end nears, a cheeky guide to some last-minute gift possibilities

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I usually give books for Hanukkah. Certain ungrateful children are prone to whine, “We want real presents!” Fine. Here are some suggestions for last-minute gifts designed to bring out the best in each child.

vintage red tricycle

For the privileged hellion
If you really loved your adorable demon child, you’d buy him the vintage red tricycle belonging to little Damien in The Omen. The priceless mom-murdering prop from the 1976 film is up for auction at Bonhams in the UK. Sure, the estimate is £12,000-£15,000 (in the neighborhood of $20K) but do you want your kid not to be the first on the block with a possessed trike?

Kroko the paranoid crocodile

For the Sigmund Freud-to-be
From a German manufacturer (of course) come these not-at-all-tacky psychiatric plush toys. Kroko the paranoid crocodile, Dub the depressed turtle, Lilo the obsessive-compulsive hippo, and Dolly the delusional sheep (with a plush wolf inside her) all await your child’s ministrations.

Alexander Girard Alphabet Blocks

For the progeny of mid-century design-obsessed hipsters
Alexander Girard Alphabet Blocks will help force any child into the box created by his parents’ rigid aesthetic sensibilities. This gift is beautiful and tactile and will allow parents to lecture the child about fonts, typographic frameworks, and folk art opulence until his ears bleed.

My First Bacon

For the rebel
My First Bacon.

For the foodie fashionista
What goes with a fuzzy felt falafel hair clip besides, oh, everything? How about an F is for Falafel onesie?

Brooklyn Pendants

For the too-cool-for-school teen
Teach her where Bubbe and the Park Slope Parents Mailing List came from by way of a fabulous filigree necklace shaped like a Brooklyn brownstone.

4th Amendment

For the little frequent flier
Does your family jet off regularly to see the mishpocha in far-off states? Are you anxious about sending little Joshua through those radiation-emitting backscatters? Get him these timely underpants with “READ THE 4TH AMENDMENT, PERVERTS” emblazoned on the crotch.

bathtub flute kit

For David Amrams in training
Conductor, composer, French horn player, flutist, Amram can do it all. And so can your child, if you give her this bathtub flute kit. The kid fills the brightly colored plastic flutes with water up to the graduated lines on their sides, then starts tootling away. The flutes come with color-coded sheet music printed on laminated cards that stick to a wet tile wall. If these don’t turn your child into a conductor-in-residence at the Philharmonic by age 7, you have failed.

Smart Lab Explore The Human Body

For the kid who will be a doctor when she grows up, knock wood
The You Explore It: Human Body science kit includes a model of the human body, tweezers, forceps, and 21 squishy, squeezable internal organs (you’ll love the bladder!), bones, and muscles. Have the child practice on the plastic model, then on Uncle Murray at the seder in April.


For the itty-bitty Helena Rubenstein or Estée Lauder
Who doesn’t want a cosmetics mogul in the family? Scientific Explorer’s Perfumery will allow any child to craft different intoxicating scents, learn the science behind their creation, then sell them to classmates at a hefty profit with the promise of eternal youth and beauty.

Rebecca Rubin the 1914 Lower East Side Jewish American Girl doll

For the doll-obsessed
Let’s assume our young collector already has Rebecca Rubin, the 1914 Lower East Side Jewish American Girl doll that sells for a mere $95. But does she have Rebecca’s Shabbat accessories (teeny challah, samovar, tea, and candlesticks) for $68, her Hanukkah set (itty-bitty menorah, wooden dreidl, and gelt) for $22, her schoolbag (eensy-weensy bagel, rugelach, pickles, and “you’re a grand old flag” sheet music) for $36, or her Coney Island souvenirs (infinitesimal postcards, Steeplechase Park flyer, music box that plays “over the waves” and admission token) for $32? How much money do you have? For a Lower East Side immigrant child, Rebecca has a lot of stuff. (The Rebecca books are quite good! But I know, I promised. No books. Feh.)

Remote Controlled Fart Machine

For the would-be comedian
Let’s be honest. Don’t we all need a remote-controlled fart machine?

Heifer International

For the animal lover/humanitarian
Yes, honey, we know you want a pony. You can’t have a pony. You can, however, have a llama. A llama from Heifer International that will not live in our house in Bloomfield Hills but rather go directly to a poor family in Bolivia so they can start a farm and sell wool and their children can have an education. And we will talk about gratitude and tzedakah and we will eat some latkes and make an online donation to Mazon, the Jewish charity that fights hunger. And fine, you can have this little toy llama. There is an awesome book that goes with it, Llama Llama Red Pajama, but I’m not even going to mention it. Chag Sameach.

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Nice! Thanks for including ModernTribe, Marjorie!

Eileen P. says:

Why not llamas in Bloomfield Hills? There used to be a llama farm in neighboring Auburn Hills.

Very funny! Another idea – a microfinance loan. The kid gets to allocate it. They have recently affiliated with a microfinance program in Israel for Bedouin women, to be posted on the website any day now.

I have been a fan of KIVA for several years. I have given it to my grandchildren and they liked going through the possibilities. It’s a great gift for adults too. Especially the adult who has everything. Glad to hear about the addition of Bedouin women. I’ll be on the lookout.

My daughter and I have both made KIVA loans (we actually made a bet about which would be repaid faster — her choice won) but Heifer Project worked better for my pony joke! Seriously, though, glad to hear they’ll be doing a project in Israel; I did note that there are currently none on the web site. Mazon is great too — and I think even people with extremely different political views can agree that it’s a fine cause. (Man, I hope so, anyway.)

If I hadn’t already sent my nephews their gifts, that remote-controlled fart machine would so totally be on the way to them. Because you can get away with that when you’re an auntie.

Liz G. says:

“Certain ungrateful children are prone to whine, “We want real presents!” ”

Those would be my children.

I also thought the Rebecca books were pretty good. But, Marjorie, did you notice in the glossary at the back of “Rebecca and Ana” the pronunciation of the word Knish is given as Nish?!! (I emailed the publisher, but they assured me their research was impeccable…)

Heifer International (HI) is an organization that claims to work against world hunger by donating animals to families in developing countries. Its catalog deceptively portrays beautiful children holding cute animals in seemingly humane circumstances. The marketing brochure for HI does not show the animals being transported, their living and slaughter conditions, or the erosion, pollution and water use caused by the introduction of these animals and their offspring.

By definition, animals raised for food are exploited in a variety of ways. The animals shipped to developing countries are often subject to; water and food shortages, cruel procedures without painkillers, lack of veterinary care resulting in extended suffering as a result of illness or injury.

A large percentage of the families receiving animals from HI are struggling to provide for themselves and cannot ensure adequate living conditions, nutrition, and medical care for animals they have been given. HI provides some initial veterinary training to individuals and the initial vaccines. But, long term care for these animals and their offspring is up to the individuals.

To make matters worse, animal agriculture causes much more harm to the environment than plant-based agriculture. The fragile land in many of the regions HI is sending the animals cannot support animal agriculture. Although they say they encourage cut and carry feeding of the animals to avoid erosion, the reality is often quite different.

The consumption of animal products has been shown in reputable studies to contribute significantly to life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and a variety of cancers. Regions that have adopted a diet with more animal products see an increase in these diseases. The remote communities supposedly served by HI have no way of dealing with the health consequences of joining the high-cholesterol world.

While it may seem humane and sustainable to provide just one or two dairy

When did hannukkah become a gift-giving holiday? are we really all feeling so bereft by our own traditions that we need to adopt the most crass parts of christmas?

I really found your blog to be really excellent and it really give me some insights. will definitely recommend your site to my friends. definitely bookmarking this site. Keep up the good work! hope to see more of this!

Amy: NISH??? NO!!! That is freaking hysterical. Thanks for sharing.

David Doty says:

JC: I guess people in developing countries should just starve, since they can turn vegan and buy their food at Whole Paycheck.

I’ve said that least 4162748 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

nice work thanks for the share!

I appreciate the insightful post. Thanks.


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Gag Order

As Hanukkah’s end nears, a cheeky guide to some last-minute gift possibilities

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