For Americans who celebrate the holidays as more than just a vacation from school or an excuse to wear reindeer jewelry,there are holiday gifts that have a deeper meaning.
Christmas and Hanukkah,both celebrated in December this year,are a time for the devout to give gifts that express their faith.
Jewish Family Celebrations is an online store that sells gifts for all types of celebrations,including Hanukkah.
Owner Teri Brager said there are several items she's expecting to be popular this year.
Menorahs have long been a part of the Hanukkah celebration,and this season,electric menorahs are combining tradition and technology.
These menorahs allow people to leave them on all night long or place them in windows without having to worry about fire hazards and safety,Brager said.
The Temple Mount Electric Menorah has wavy candleholders to give it a contemporary look and is priced at $39.
“Even if you have a menorah or two or three,it's like getting a new Christmas decoration and it adds to your collection,” Brager said.
Because parents like to give a gift to their children on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah,children's toys are also very popular.
Brager said craft items make a good gift. A menorah kit ($13) lets children fashion their own menorah with beads and glitter. A beeswax candle-making kit ($20) has all the supplies for children to make their own Hanukkah candles.
The online store's bestseller is a Sorrento music box that plays “Hatikva,” the Israeli National Anthem. Hebrew letters inside the Star of David spell Shalom. The music box is available in blue and white and sells for $69.
For Christians,Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus,but it's also a chance to give inspirational and wholesome gifts to friends and family,said Rita Cavicchio-Christie,vice president of Internet marketing for Christianbook.com.
Christmas music – from classic carols to new pop jingles – has remained a favorite over the seasons,and this year will be no exception.
New albums by Australian worship leader Darlene Zschech and gospel singers Bill and Gloria Gaither feature a mix of traditional songs and new holiday tunes.
Pop singers Stacie Orrico and Jaci Velasquez each released Christmas albums that are sure to be popular with teens. Orrico's “Christmas Wish” gives a modern R&B twist to songs like “O Holy Night” and Velasquez features a mix of new songs and old favorites like “The Chipmunk Song” and “Feliz Navidad.”
Several new books are also expected to be popular this year,including “Desecration,” the ninth book in the best-selling “Left Behind” series.
Another bestseller,“The Prayer of Jabez” was released last year,but after selling millions of copies,the book has spawned a host of other products like travel mugs,wall crosses and desktop frames.
The related items are expected to follow the book's success and will probably be one of the season's hottest gifts,Christie said.
“The Prayer of Jabez for Little Ones” is also available for children under age 5. Other popular gifts for children also include Bibleman and Veggie Tales Videos.
Christie said gifts like the video and books were ways to participate in the gift-giving fun while remembering the true spirit of the season.