Gift-giving can be tricky. Depending on the occasion and/or the person, it can be difficult to find just the right gift to give. For example, what should you get your aunt for Shavuos? What about your neighbor? Or anyone for that matter? Well, never fear! Because here is a simple, practical list of the 5 best gifts you can give for Shavuos.
First, some background information on the holiday itself. Shavuos (sometimes written as Shavuot) is often referred to as the Festival of Weeks in English. It was originally a celebration of the harvest in ancient times, but it has also become intertwined with the historic passing down of the Torah to the children of Israel. Following Passover, the holiday known as Shavuos isn’t celebrated in quite the same way as it was in Biblical times; however, it’s still an important day in Judaism. These days, families and friends often get together to observe the holiday in a more intimate way, such as by sharing or making a meal together or by reading from or studying the Torah. Of course, with all holiday gatherings, a gift is also a nice addition to the experience, so without further ado, here are some ideas for the perfect Shavuos gifts.
Since Shavuos was originally a holiday celebrating a successful harvest, food is generally an important part of the day. If you’re looking for a great gift to give someone or to bring to a themed event, you might consider a specially made Shavuos treat. Cheese logs, mini-cakes, tarts, or a selection of other bite-sized delights would be a welcomed addition to any celebration. In fact, when the Torah was first handed down there was a shortage of Kosher meat, which is why even today many people celebrating Shavuos tend to favor dairy in their recipes and offerings. Therefore, a cheesecake also wouldn’t go amiss.
The Torah is a central part of modern-day Shavuos celebrations. The handing down of this revered book is seen as something to be honored and celebrated particularly with family and young people. For this reason, a nice, new Torah or companion book would be a lovely gift for this special occasion. There are many options available today for every age group, denomination, and personal style. It’s also a nice touch to add your own inscription or note inside so that the recipient will have a reminder of not only the gift but of the person who gave it.
If you’re not in charge of bringing any of the food itself, you can instead anticipate and account for the needs of the host by gifting a nice serving tray or platter. It can be Shavuot-themed or not, but it’s a thoughtful way to show your appreciation for whoever is providing the holiday snacks or meals. This is another long-lasting and practical gift that might do well for the recipient during other holidays or events as well. These days you can find a wide variety of platters with all sorts of designs and styles. You might even personalize your gift with a name or inscription.
Personalized gifts in general are a great idea for family members around the holidays. They can be playful or serious, religious or family-oriented. A mug or other form of glassware might be another good option for Shavuos as drinks will likely be plentiful when commemorating the harvest festival. To share a cup of coffee in the morning out of a mug specifically made with your loved one’s favorite message from the Torah would be a great way to spend Shavous together. Or if you plan to bring Kosher wine to the party, personalized wine glasses are also a nice touch. You can even find ones engraved with “chag sameach” (“happy holidays”)!
When all else fails, combine ideas! Gift sets are a great way to go if you don’t know the recipient extremely well. You can collect a few things and wrap them nicely, showing your thoughtfulness while giving them options. This is also a great idea if you’re bringing a gift for the household or for more than one person. Some snacks to share, a Torah-related item, and something personalized will undoubtedly send a heart-warming and appreciative message that will allow you to fully enjoy your Shavuos together with a renewed sense of fellowship.
Remember, it really is the thought that counts when giving gifts. Shavuos is ultimately a time of acknowledgment and communion — any gifts are just the cherry on top of a nice time spent with family and friends. So enjoy your Shavuos and until next time, shalom aleichem!