May 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Gifts of Experiences: No Wrapping Paper Required

In the month between Thanksgiving and Chanukah, sometimes even the menschiest children can forget how grateful they are for what they have, as their Chanukah lists grow to include every new toy and gadget under the sun. This year, try a gift that won’t take up any space in your house—spending time together. Whether you’re trying to declutter or want to get your kids to take a break from their iPads and phones, here are some ideas for Chanukah gifts that will leave your family with memories that will last long after Hatchimals have been forgotten about. Many of these establishments sell gift cards, or feel free to get creative and present your kids with a homemade voucher for a one-of-a-kind gift!

Winter officially starts in just a few days. Even though it’s tempting to hide from the cold, why not embrace it instead and take the family snowtubing? Campgaw Mountain in Mahwah has several different runs from which to choose and no special equipment is needed; tubes are provided and a surface lift helps riders back up the hill. Tickets are sold for two-hour sessions, and a limited number of tickets are sold per session to avoid overcrowding. Advanced online purchasing is recommended; tickets go on sale six days in advance at www.skicampgaw.com/tubing.

If you’re more of an indoorsy type, you can try your hand at creating a work of art at Mosaic Glassworks in Bergen County. You can choose from open studio hours, drop-off sessions for students, or even schedule your own hour of individual mosaic art instruction. For hours and more information, visit www.mosaic-glassworks.com.

For children in elementary school who love to help in the kitchen (or just like watching the Food Network), Raddish (www.raddish.com) is a monthly subscription service that sends everything your child needs (except the ingredients) to make three dishes. (Please note that Raddish is not specially designed to be kosher, but since there aren’t any food items being provided by the company, you can tailor the ingredients as necessary.) Each kit comes with three recipes with detailed, illustrated instructions, a special skill card, a shopping list, one kitchen tool (like a whisk or measuring spoons) and additional goodies, like a set of cards called “Table Talk” with dinner table conversation starters. While some children will require more supervision than others, Raddish is a great way for kids to get comfortable in the kitchen while answering the eternal question, “What’s for dinner?”

For older daughters who may be less inclined to accept a parents’ expertise, it sometimes helps to leave it to the professionals. DePasquale in Morris Plains (www.depasqualethespa.com) offers 45-minute teen make-up lessons for $60, where one of their professional makeup artists will consult with your teenager to teach her the fundamentals of applying make up and using proper skincare.

If you can get away with giving an IOU, tickets for Broadway Week go on sale on January 5, for performances January 17-February 5. Though the shows participating in 2017 have not been announced yet, Matilda, The Lion King, Wicked and Aladdin have all participated in the past. Sign up to receive updates about Broadway Week at www.nycgo.com/broadway-week.

For something closer to home, the Papermill Playhouse in Millburn has a number of shows for families coming this spring, including Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte’s Web, Mary Poppins and Pete the Cat. The theater has also scheduled autism-friendly performances of Mary Poppins and Pete the Cat, during which the house lights remain dimmed instead of off, the sound level is consistent and lower than during a typical performance, and children are free to talk and leave their seats under parental supervision. For more information, visit www.papermill.org.

By Rachel Jager

 

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