Main streets and malls may be decked out with tinseled trees and Santa Claus figures, but for many, the holiday season is a time centered around Hanukkah. This year, the Jewish holiday spans Nov. 28 through Dec. 6. Unlike Christmas, where gifts are opened all on one day, gifts for Hanukkah are traditionally exchanged on each of the eight nights.
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Every family has their own way of doing things, and surely not every night of Hanukkah calls for an epic gift -- in fact, it's common to give food and small, thoughtful gifts on each of the evenings. Still, spending is usually required to some extent and so it's important that consumers know the tricks and tactics of how to save on shopping for Hanukkah.
Shop the Hanukkah Grocery Sales
"Grocery stores are already offering sales on Hanukkah staples, so now's a good time to start picking up the items you'll need -- or want -- for your celebration," Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. "For instance, you can currently find items like candles, chocolate gelt, potato pancake mix, smoked salmon, turkey, grape juice, pears, noodles and more at great prices."
Ramhold added that because Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 25 and the first night of Hanukkah is just a few days later on Nov. 28, the weekly sales have some decent overlap on dishes that are popular to both holidays, as well as on individual items that are suited specifically for Hanukkah.
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Hunt For Hanukkah-Related Promo Codes
"Various stores and online retailers offer various discounts and promo codes, especially for Hanukkah," said Liam Mills, CEO of ValueHunta. "We suggest you keep an eye on ads from big brands close to Hanukkah. You can add and compare deals from different retail stores and bag the best deals."
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Focus On Meaningful Gifts -- Rather Than Costly Ones
"Oftentimes, our loved ones are more appreciative of something special that has meaning and is personal rather than expensive and extravagant," said Lisa Thompson, Savings Expert for Coupons.com. "Get creative: A stressed-out mom might appreciate a 'self-care gift basket' you create yourself with a candle, bath products and teas. Sites like Etsy allow you to personalize countless products with names, special dates, etc. that will be a gift your loved one will treasure for years to come."
Make Your Own Rugelach
"It can be easy to pick up trays of rugelach for dessert but it's so much more satisfying to make your own, even if it does require more work than just setting out a tray," said Ramhold. "Even better is by making your own, you'll be able to tailor the flavors to your guests and yourself. There are plenty of recipes out there but once you have the dough nailed down, it should be easy to adapt the fillings whether you want something sweet like raspberry, chocolate, apricot or cinnamon."
Break a Big Gift Into 8 Smaller Ones
"With eight nights of gift giving, the celebration can get expensive, but you can be frugal and still give meaningful presents," Ramhold said. "Shop warehouse stores like Costco and Sam's Club for multipacks of items, whether they're food gifts, clothing, toys, books, candles, or something else. Then break those down into individual gifts; they can either serve as gifts for multiple people or gifts for multiple nights, whatever makes sense."
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Shop in Person for Gifts
"If you're waiting to shop for gifts around Black Friday, then you'll want to primarily shop in-person. Ordering online will incur shipping costs, but items probably won't arrive in time for Hanukkah, either, depending on what you order and from where, as well as where you're sending the gift to," Ramhold said. "There will be plenty of in-store sales this year, so you should be able to avoid ordering online in most cases unless there's a particular store you want to shop that isn't nearby."
Make Your Own Decorations
"If you don't have a stockpile of Hanukkah decorations and aren't keen on spending higher prices right now, consider making your own," Ramhold said. "You can often find materials at affordable prices at craft stores like Michaels and Joann, especially around Black Friday, so you can easily pick up what you need. It's a good way to create your own decor that fits your personal taste rather than being restricted to whatever you can find in stores, and can even be a fun holiday project to do with your friends, family and even kids, depending on what type of crafting you'll be doing, of course."
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Make a Night of Charitable Giving
"Families can bring meaning to the holiday (and buy one less gift) by making one night of Hanukkah a night to give back with a donation to a favorite non-profit," said Elizabeth Abrams, assistant VP of communications at Jewish United Fund. "Many mission-driven organizations, such as the JewishUnited Fund of Chicago, are offering end-of-year matching programs, making it possible for donations to be doubled and have more impact. Plus, with GivingTuesday falling on the third night of Hanukkah, this could be a natural opportunity to do so much good during the holidays, while teaching children the importance of being generous and taking care of those whose needs are greater than our own."
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This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: 8 Ways To Save on 8 Days of Hanukkah