When it comes to gift giving during the holiday season, I feel like in our house, less is more.  We are so lucky that we want for very little – when it comes to  Little C’s needs, they are essentially met without regard to the gift giving spirit of the season.  Little C has more than enough clothing and toys.  So when thinking about the “want, need, wear, read” gift tradition, I decided that for this year, we were going to sack the first three and focus solely on books.  I figure that I can direct C’s extended family to other ideas in the want and wear categories, while we would use Hanukkah as an excuse to build the start of a Hanukkah book library for our house that we can read year after year.

I’m so lucky to be inspired by fellow members of the Hellobee community – perusing Mrs. Train’s favorite Halloween booksreminded me of how reading about a holiday can make it feel more exciting and make the season special, and when the fabulous Mrs. Paintbrush shared her book themed Advent calendar, seeing all of those books so gorgeously wrapped made me want to line up a slew of books for Little C!

Here are the eight books that Little C will be receiving for this Hanukkah season from Mr. Confetti and me.  I stuck solely to board books, because C is still not quite ready to gently handle the pages of regular hardcover and paperback books.

Where is Baby’s Dreidel?by Karen Katz
Little C already loves Where is Baby’s Belly Button, so betting on this author seems like it will be a sure thing.  He is very into Peekaboo and exploring these days, so I am certain that this book will be a hit.

My First Hanukkah Board Book by DK
I love the “My First” books, because Little C seems to be drawn to photographs, and this series of books really holds his attention from beginning to end (we already have My First Trucks and My First Alphabet book).

Hanukkah Lights by David Martin and Melissa Sweet
This book was recommended to me from several friends who have enjoyed reading it with their toddlers.  I appreciate the diversity of the children celebrating, because now more than ever, there are Jews of all ethnicities.

Happy Hanukkah, Curious George by H. A. Rey and Margret Rey
I chose this book because it actually tells a story.  The other books are just holiday overviews whereas this is the story of George learning about the holiday and having tricky adventures along the way.  While I know Curious George is a polarizing character among parents, I don’t mind the mischief so much at this stage.  I think this will be a book that C likes this year, and enjoys even more from year to year.

Elmo’s Little Dreidel by Naomi Kleinberg
While we only watch a limited amount of television, somehow the pervasiveness of Elmo has penetrated Little C’s mind.  He can already say “Elmo” at 17 months (oy).  I also like this book because it gives rudimentary instructions about playing dreidel that even the youngest of kids can understand.

My First Chanukah by Tomie dePaola
While this is not Little C’s first Hanukkah, I like that this book assumes that the reader is learning the basics about the holiday and explains every term and tradition with clarity meant for the youngest of children.  This would also be a great book for families who don’t celebrate but want to learn the basics of the holiday for cultural competency.

It’s Hanukkah! by Santiago Cohen
The colors are what drew me in to this book.  The words flow in a sing-song rhythm, which I really like when reading to Little C, and the vibrant watercolor candles are absolutely beautiful.

Rainbow Candles: A Hanukkah Counting Book by Myra ShostakI love how Amazon lets you flip through the inside of many children’s books – there are many counting themed books related to Hanukkah, so after flipping through several options, I liked this one the best.  Hopefully Little C agrees.

If you’ve reached the bottom of this post and are still reading, I have one more tip about Jewish books! If you have not heard about PJ Library yet, please click the link and learn more about it and register.  It is a program that sends monthly free books to Jewish children from the age of 6 months to 8 years old, and the selections cover everything from the holidays to Shabbat to core values like loving-kindness and repairing the world.  Since 2005, they have sent out over 3.5 million books, and several of the above titles are included in their selections for 1-2 year olds.  Little C’s current favorite book, Baby Be Kind by Jane Cowen-Fletcher, was one of the first books we received, and we have loved the excitement that comes from seeing a new book arrive in our mailbox each month.

Do you have any favorite Hanukkah books?  Do you incorporate books into your holiday giving?