The eight days of Hanukkah changes every year since it follows the Jewish calendar. (This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Tuesday, December 12th and ends the evening of Wednesday, December 20th.) Because of this, Hanukkah seems to “creep up” on many parents (myself included!) who find themselves unprepared for the holiday—especially when it comes to purchasing Hanukkah gifts for the kids.
With so much to do for Hanukkah, and so little time… what’s a New Jersey parent to do? Contact Simply Hanukkah, of course! What is Simply Hanukkah, you ask? It’s a brand new way for parents to get a stress-free handle on the holiday. To learn more about it, Best of NJ spoke to the family who came up with it.
Recently, New Yorker Victoria “Vicky” Turk launched the online business with her husband Michael Turk, a Ramsey native and Rutgers Law grad. The parents-of-two, both daughters (pictured throughout this article, and cited as the inspiration for the business), currently operate Simply Hanukkah from their suburban New York home. Their mission? To help take the stress out of Hanukkah prep.
How it Works
The premise is simple: Just visit the Simply Hanukkah site and choose the gift packages (or individual items) for the special children in your life. Vicky and her team then beautifully wrap all 8 presents – one for each night of Hanukkah, of course – and mail them in one big package to your door (or someone else’s door, if need be) just before the holiday begins. Done!
How it Began
Last year, Vicky needed some last-minute menorah candles and presents for her kids before the first night of Hanukkah. Between her corporate job in Manhattan, commuting, juggling her daughters’ schedules and everything in between, there was little time to shop for Hanukkah—and Vicky soon discovered other busy parents felt the same way.
“I thought, how incredibly convenient would it be if everything I needed for my daughters would just… show up?” Vicky recalled. “I could just focus on celebrating Hanukkah with my family. And just like that, Simply Hanukkah was born!”
“In today’s world, I think it’s so important that my kids aren’t glued to a screen; we have sourced gifts that keep kids’ minds moving,” said Vicky, whose family spends the major Jewish holidays celebrating with relatives in Hackensack and Park Ridge.
The age-appropriate presents include items from popular brands such as Melissa and Doug, Crayola and Disney, as well as a colorful wooden dreidel, Hanukkah Gelt and a story of Hanukkah. There are currently four gift packages available; each package is $60, plus shipping. The packages are categorized by age group: Girls ages 2-3 and 4-7; Boys 2-3 and 4-7.
All packages include the aforementioned dreidel, chocolate gelt (a Hanukkah staple), and short story to share with the kids.
Via the site, you can also purchase holiday necessities – and no matter what your kids say, gifts, although exciting, are not Hanukkah necessities! – such as beautiful menorahs, candles, table settings, decorative banners and more. Vicky does nearly all the wrapping herself, with some assistance from relatives. Her mother-in-law in particular, she said, is a big help.
With Simply Hanukkah, there’s no more running to stores last-minute in search of Hanukkah decorations or specific candles to fit your menorah. You can order it all online and enjoy the holiday with your kids.
Simply Hanukkah officially launched this fall. “In a little over 2 months, our Simply Hanukkah Instagram page has nearly 6,000 followers and it grows each day,” said Vicky, whose husband Michael designed the site.
According to Vicky, feedback thus far has been extremely positive, especially from grandparents or out-of-state relatives who want to connect with the special kids in their lives even if they can’t celebrate with them in person. Customers can send a note with their gift package, and many have even specified a message to be shared with the children on each night of the holiday.
“My father-in-law in Hackensack said he never knows what to buy our girls for Hanukkah, and he only spends one evening with his granddaughters during the holiday since we’re in New York,” Vicky explained. “He loved the idea of them opening a gift from him on each night of Hanukkah.”
“One grandfather who has mobility issues placed an order and thanked us profusely. He said even though he can’t be with his grandkids in person on the holiday, Simply Hanukkah will connect them each night. He was really emotional on the phone and made me tear up,” she told Best of NJ.
Next year, Vicky and Michael hope to expand their offerings. “We want to have different packages in various price ranges; maybe add a premium package option, themed packages for kids that love art or music, for example, customized boxes, and ones for older kids.”