December 02, 2014

Whether you spell it Hanukkah or Chanukkah, anyone who celebrates the Festival of Lights can certainly use a little help this year. Last year was a doozy with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah occurring on the same day – aren’t you glad we don’t have to worry about that happening for another gazillion years?? Even though we have a bit of time to prepare this year, that doesn’t mean we are all ready with menorahs shined, eight small presents wrapped up beautifully for each child and potatoes ready to become latkes.

Religiously, Hanukkah is not nearly as big of a holiday to Jewish people as Christmas to Christians. Still, it is a nice opportunity to celebrate family time, read stories about the holiday and partake in festive foods.

Here are a few of my favorite apps and wireless products that help me get through the “other” December holiday:
  1. The Manischewitz Recipe & Holiday Guide app: The quintessential leader in Jewish prepared foods has an easy-to-use app that offers recipes and ideas for a variety of Jewish and secular holidays. Categorized by holiday, the recipes are not terribly complicated, and there are lots of good photographs to help guide you along. This probably isn’t the biggest recipe catalog for an app, but it certainly does the trick. As a bonus, it offers the candle lighting times based on your location – nice! Free app on iOS and Android
  2. Let’s Bake Challah app: This is the cutest app. My kindergartener loves mixing the ingredients, watching her challah rise and even topping it with fun things like sprinkles. You can even choose to add Shabbat rituals such as the blessings over the challah into the baking process. While this one isn’t necessarily for Hanukkah, it certainly gets us in the spirit of the holidays. Free app on iOS
  3. RetailMeNot: I just don’t know how we did anything before this app (and website) came along. You know that crazy person taking forever as she is rummaging through her purse in line at Kohl’s, Macy’s, Michaels, Bed Bath and Beyond or any-store-that-requires-a-coupon-to-get-a-discount while you are waiting to get checked out? Yep, that’s me. I almost never remember to bring the coupon I clipped at home when I am at the store. Never fear, RetailMeNot is here. This app is essentially a place where anyone can post a coupon code, promo, hard copy coupon or other discount for anyone else to use. I never buy anything online before checking RetailMeNot to see if there is a promo code posted. I am constantly amazed to find hidden gems here. Free app on iOS and Android
  4. Dunkin Donuts app: To be fair, I tend to use my Starbucks app more, but when Hanukkah rolls around and I am on the hunt for a dozen jelly donuts (also called sufganiyot), only one place will do the trick. You can store money on a gift card, find offers and locate your nearest Dunkin Donuts with this handy app. While I can’t exactly place my donut order through the app, it does give me options to locate a store with a drive through on the way home when I realize we just can’t light the menorah without our jelly donuts.  Free app on iOS and Android
  5. Harman Kardon Onyx Studio Speaker: Nothing gets the holiday started right like festive music. I have a good stock of favorite hits from Sheldon Low, the Maccabeats and, of course, Adam Sandler, in a Hanukkah Playlist. This attractive speaker makes it really easy to fill our home with festive music while we cook up latkes, spin the dreidel and open presents.  Pairing through Bluetooth takes no time at all. This is a must-have for any holiday gathering. $149.99 (excluding taxes) with the purchase of any accessory.1
In the end, Hanukkah isn’t that different from most Jewish holidays – we eat yummy food and enjoy family time together. My family doesn’t go crazy with presents but we do enjoy opening something fun on each of the eight nights of the holiday. Whatever you and your family do to celebrate, I hope your technology makes it a bit easier.

If you have other tips to share, you reach me at

1Promotion valid 11/1/14-12/27/14 in Sprint stores only. Other restrictions apply. See store for full details.