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Yes, Hanukkah is happening late this year, but that doesn't mean you should slouch on your gift-shopping! To get you started, we've enlisted the help of the one and only Jill Zarin, a woman who knows a thing or two about selecting standout presents. "When picking a gift, I really try to think about what that person likes or wants," the Real Housewives of New York City star shares. "Something thoughtful is worth a lot more than something from Chanel. Well, anything from Chanel is great."
"Let's be real: Hanukkah is all about the gifts. But it's about getting the right gift," Jill says. "Up until your children move out of the house, I think kids should get a gift every night for eight nights. After that, they probably prefer one larger gift."
As for holiday entertaining? "Someone in the family really needs to have a Hanukkah party," Jill notes. "You have to have a menorah and, personally, for me, you also need potato latkes like the kind my grandma used to make. Bobby used to say they were like potato knishes. That's what they should be! And you have to have chocolate gelt and you have to play dreidel."
Jill offers eight thoughtful gift ideas—one for each night of Hanukkah—and we added one more special must-have below.
For Her: Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
"Women like something personal. Something feminine. Note to husbands: Definitely NOT an appliance,"Jill astutely advises. "My girlfriend Wendy wears this and every time I smell her, I'm like, 'What are you wearing?' Whoever you get it for, this perfume will change her life."
For the Kid/Teen: Stoney Clover Lane Bags
"My daughter Ally told me about this brand, and kids love to have things personalized."
For the Traveler: Quilted Koala Backpack
"Don't you just love this? I have it in gold. I wear it everywhere. It has a sleeve for my laptop and two snap pockets—one for my phone and one for my keys. And one zipper for my money. It fits everything you need and it's so chic. I get so many compliments on it."
Splurge-Worthy: Shifman Mattress
"A good night's sleep is the ultimate gift for anyone. We just bought a new Shifman mattress at Bloomies. My grandfather was a mattress maker when he came to America. He taught my father to hand tie the coils so the bed would have a natural spring feeling in it. A few friends recommended this brand and I can't wait to get it."
Secrets of a Jewish Mother: Real Advice, Real Family, Real Love
Of course we have to recommend Jill's book! Jill co-wrote this with her award-winning radio host sister, Lisa Wexler, and her mother, Gloria Kamen. With real-life stories from the mother-daughter trio illustrating their wise and witty tips on dating, marriage, money, and more, Secrets of a Jewish Mother is all the advice readers didn't know they needed but will never forget. And the Kindle price is a real steal!
Need more inspo? See what other Hollywood stars have on their holiday gifts lists now.
—Originally published Nov. 18, 2019 at 4 a.m. PT