Sheila's Out Shopping: Hanukkah

large tree of life menorah

large tree of life menorah

Children's Hanukkah book

Children's Hanukkah book

The lighting of the first candle for Hanukkah this year will be at sundown Dec. 11, and all eight candles and the shamus will be burning brightly on Dec. 18.

Hanukkah is the Jewish holiday that is also called the festival of lights, and celebrates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its desecration by the Hellenist Syrians in the second century B.C.

A small amount of oil to light the eternal flame was found, but by a miracle it burned for eight days. Jews around the world light their menorahs (adding a new candle each night for eight nights), eat foods fried in oil such as potato latkes (pancakes) and jelly doughnuts, play with a dreidel (a top-like toy with Hebrew letters) and exchange small gifts each night.

I shopped for a new menorah this year and found what I liked at Gulf Coast Candle Shop. The tree of life style is available in a large size ($41.75) and a smaller size ($21.50) that bursts with light when all the candles are lit. The one that really caught my eye was the black sculpted iron one with crystals ($69.75) that will add a majestic look to my dining table. I also bought blue-and-white tapered candles ($8.95) and a box of large wooden matches ($6.25). My fingers always seem to burn when I try to strike a match from a regular book of matches, so these will be a big help.

I found a plastic dreidel full of candy ($2.79) at Publix that will amuse little ones. Publix is where I’ll buy russet potatoes (the starchier the potato the crisper the latke) for my latkes and applesauce for dipping. I also found Golden brand frozen latkes ($2.39 for 8) to have as a back-up.

I make my own latkes but have never tried from scratch jelly doughnuts. I head straight to Dunkin’ Donuts for munchkins (25 for $5.39 or 50 for $7.99).

I stopped into Naples Olive Oil Co. to get flavored oils (starting at $15.95) for gifts. I thought I was so clever giving oil as presents to remember how the holiday came to be. If the Maccabees didn’t find the oil, we wouldn’t have the happy holiday of Hanukkah.

All the children on my list got books from Barnes & Noble. The babies got “My First Hanukkah Board Book” by DK Publishing ($5.99) and beginning readers got “Oh Chanukah,” by L.J. Goodman ($5.99). There were so many to pick from, including sticker books, picture books and explanations of the story of Hanukkah.

I would like to wish an early happy Hanukkah to everyone who observes this festive holiday.

Where to shop

* Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Waterside Shops, 5377 U.S. 41 N, Naples, 598-5200.

* Dunkin’ Donuts, 2700 Immokalee Road, Naples,

592-9503;1585 Pine Ridge Road, Naples; 593-7739; and 7775 Preserve Lane, Naples, 593-1070.

* Gulf Coast Candle Shop,

Naples Walk Shopping Center,

2464 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, 254-7773.

* Naples Olive Oil Co., Greentree Center, 2368 Immokalee Road, Naples, 596-3000.

Publix, various locations


Ike also has been busy shopping for Hanukkah.

The verdict: Hanukkah is such a happy holiday it is fun to give small gifts to friends that drop in to enjoy Sheila’s latkes. Stein Mart has the Sharper Image USB 2.0 digital photo keychain ($14.99) that holds 60 color photos. This gadget will make it easy for everyone to ‘kvell’ (beam with pride) about their families.

Connect with Sheila Mesulam at

© 2009 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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