Hanukkah Apps, Videos, and Favorite Tech Gifts

Hanukkah Apps

This post is part of an ongoing series of lifestyle tech as a participant in the Verizon Insider influencer group. I’m thrilled to be part of this group for the past several years and I hope you enjoy my unique perspective on tech for families and entrepreneurs. There are affiliate links in this post, which help me to run this site and buy cool tech I think you’d love to know about.

This year Hanukkah starts on December 24th. This is so exciting! No only do I have something fun to do on December 25th but I get to take advantage of all the sales. And though Hanukkah is a festival holiday and, traditionally, not a big gift-giving holiday, it’s become more and more a celebration that includes gifts. Gifts go well with latkes and pear sauce, right?

What I love about tech is that it allows everyone to get in on the games and fun smartphone apps. Even songs, lots of Hanukkah songs! So I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite Hanukkah tech, from apps to videos to small gifts to things that may qualify as ‘the big gift’ this year.

Fun Hanukkah Apps

Light My Fire (iOS, Andriod) – Created by The Jewish Museum in New York, this app allows you to select one of the many exquisite Hanukkiah from their collection. I love this, especially for college kids and young adults who may not be able to light actual candles where they live. It’s also great for little kids so they can participate in lighting candles. I think it would be a great option for seniors who may not feel comfortable with open flames in their homes or senior living apartments and for parents of kids with special needs that may not be able to light candles in a traditional way.

Menorah (iOS, Android) – This is a nice app, with music by Mo Kiss, that lets you light the candles and sing along. Again, great for those in need of a virtual menorah.

The Chanukkah App (iOS, Android) – With a virtual menorah, some history, and a virtual dreidel game it’s a mobile party! This app features the blessings in 7 languages as well as incorporates social sharing so you can celebrate with your friends all over the world.

‘Twas the Night Before Hanukkah (iOS, Android) – An extension of the 2012 musical album of the same name, this app brings lots of fun holiday music to your smartphone with an epic musical battle between Christmas and the Festival of Lights. Something new and fun to give a tech/music spin to your celebration.

Match 8 Hanukkah Game (iOS, Android) – Tired of playing dreidel? Who isn’t! Here’s a fun little game to distract you from whatever it is you need distracting. This candle lighting game will test your skills at speed lighting. A great app for kids of all abilities to get involved in playing Hanukkah games.

Chai on Chanukkah (iOS) – A top app among Jewish families with special needs kids, everyone gets in on the festival fun!

Hanukkah Match Games (iOS, Android) – A Hanukkah twist on the traditional game of matching tiles. Fun for young kids and helps them make a Jewish connection.

Festive YouTube Videos

The Chanukah SongAdam Sandler Chanukah Song (3:55) – The original by Adam Sandler. In 1994, Adam Sandler wrote a Hanukkah song for SNL’s Weekend Update and it’s become a classic. Before this there really weren’t very many non-traditional Chanukah songs, so this is really the one by which all modern songs are measured. Most are parodies, but The Chanukah Song and it’s subsequent versions are all classics. Sandler’s Chanukah Song Part 4 was released in 2015, at a fundraiser with Judd Apatow. (Image Source: NBC)

Sesame Street: Hanukkah With Veronica Monica (2:43) – if your kids love Sesame Street, this is a fun little video of the Hanukkah story. If you like this one, check out Shalom Sesame.

The Maccabeats – Candlelight – Hanukkah (3:41) – Candlelight is a Jewish parody of Taio Cruz’s Dynamite. With over 11 million views, I find myself singing this all year ’round. Funny thing is that when this song came out BabyGirl had never heard Dynamite and months later when she did she thought it was a parody of Candlelight. True story!

The Maccabeat – All About That Nais (2:55) – Not as popular, but still fun, this parody of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass is a nice little story about latkes, dreidels, bubbies, and presents.

Six13 – Chanukah (Shake It Off) (4:34) – New to the Jewish a Capella scene a few years ago, Six13 puts together a Festival of Lights parody of TayTays Shake It Off. It’s a fun little ditty!

The Story of Hanukkah (2:15) – This is a storybook video of the story of Hanukkah geared to help young readers. Perfect for kids!

Favorite Hanukkah Tech

OK, so there isn’t really such a thing as Hanukkah tech (other than the cool electronic Hanukah menorahs) but when it comes to gift giving, Chanukkah can present more challenges than just how to spell Channukkah. Since Hanukah is a festival holiday, many of us grew up with little emphasis on the gift-givingĀ  part of the celebration. Some small gifts for each night (candy, puzzles, games, etc.) or maybe one “big” gift (a bike, designer jeans), but gift giving has only recently become associated with Hanukkah so it can be difficult to figure out the ‘right’ gift. And that’s why I’m taking the stress out of your holiday and giving you some suggestions for gift options for your Hanukkah-celebrating friends and family. [Note: Chanukah begins on Dec. 24th this year, so waiting for those after-Christmas sales is highly encouraged!]

Bluetooth Trackers – These little devices that attach to your keys, slide into your wallet, fit nicely in your center console of the car, attach to a zipper in your luggage, or connect to your child’s backpack, are awesome gifts. I’ve used the Tile, Tile Slim, and Mynt trackers and all have saved me from what could have been stressful moments. When I switched planes (and airports) to allow for a family to stay together, my Mynt tracker gave me peace of mind when I saw that my luggage had arrived to my destination. The Tile tracker was with me on a three week trip to DC this summer and when I left my luggage with the concierge I could see it was safe. And when I can’t find my phone, these little devices let me get an audible tracker even when my phone is on silent. Retail: about $20 each

Portable Speaker – When we went to Israel, we took the UE Boom with us so we could easily listen to music. We take it with us when we travel because it’s so easy to use and doesn’t take up much space. CycleGuy loves it for taking business calls because it turns his smartphone into a real speakerphone. The UE Boom 2 is shockproof and waterproof, making it even more versatile. The UE Roll is small, lightweight, and so easy to use for those with active lifestyles. These range in price, but are well worth the money!

External Smartphone Battery – Let’s face it, we’re busy people and don’t have time to worry about our smartphone running low. Sure, we can get a car charger or connect at home. But, with music and games, social media, and all the photos, those long-life batteries don’t always sync with our busy lives. I have 7 or 8 different powerbanks, each for different purposes. I have the ultra-thin charger for those times I’m going out and have a small evening bag. My original Mophie is always in my purse and CycleGuy has one in his messenger bag. I have a few larger Limefuel chargers with multiple ports so BabyGirl can always plug in with friends.

Multi-Port USB Charger – Seriously, you need one! Instead of plugging in all over the house or fighting for outlets at a hotel, a multi-port USB charger is a dream. I have three of these and they are the best! We have 7 smartphones, a Nexus, two iPads, wireless headphones, CycleGuy’s bike light, and quite a few other things that need to be charged and we can do it with such ease and convenience. A few brands I like are Anker, this value-priced Sabrent 4-port hub, this Photive 6-port rapid charger, as well as the more permanent option of changing out your outlet to a Top Greener Dual USB wall outlet.

Of course, who wouldn’t love a new phone? Sometimes that’s a very personal decision, but if you’re looking for a smartphone that is unique and has really cool add-on options, check out my experience with the Motorola Moto Z Force Droid. And, of course, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge either.

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Sara

5 Awesome Tech Gifts For the Procrastinating Gift Giver

Tech Gifts GuideFTC Disclosure

When December rolls around I like to think I’m completely on top of all the gifting needs that will come up. But, to be honest, there are always last minute tech gifts that need to be purchased. And, well, if I’m being totally honest, there are some bigger gifts, too, that I put off because I’m not really sure if those are the gifts I want to give. Together, this leaves me a little stressed out.

In November, as part of the Verizon Insider team, I attended an event at the Verizon headquarters to learn about some new tech, meet some of their great partners, as well as get a sneak-peek on a few of the holiday tech gift promotions that were planned. This gave me some very helpful information for those who, like me, may be needing a few gifts as the clock ticks away.

5 Last Minute Tech Gifts That Will Make You Look Like You Didn’t Procrastinate

UE SpeakersUltimate Ears Speakers – Whether it’s the UE Boom, UE Roll, or the DJ-worthy MegaBoom if you have a music lover on your list you can’t go wrong with any of the UE speakers. The Boom and MegaBoom are great for campus-living, the home office, small businesses, apartment dwellers, and anywhere your DJ skills could come in handy. And the UE Roll is the ultimate in portability.

Mophie External ChargerMophie – While devices have improved their battery life, having portable charging options is a must for anyone with an active lifestyle. I’ve had Mophie charges for years and they make so many different type that you’re sure to find one that will work for anyone on your list. Whether it’s a slim size, attaches as a powered case, supports a cause, or is waterproof you can’t go wrong with the quality of a Mophie charger.

Moto 360 Gen 2 Watch WomensMoto360 2nd Gen. Watch – Powered by Android Wear, it’s much more than a watch. Wearable tech is one of the top gifts for any occasion, and while these range from #299 and up a gift like this is perfect for the tech geek on your list. What’s awesome is that no matter which color combo you buy they can customize it with new bands and download watch faces that suit them.

Nest Smoke DetectorNest Home Products – As tech becomes more integrated at home, it’s easier than ever to add on a home protection device like a camera, thermostat, or smoke alarm. Perfect for renters and homeowners alike, these devices bring a new level of protection and information. If you’ve got a new homeowner, college student moving off-campus, or a senior family member on your list, Nest home products are designed to make managing things at home a little easier.

Motorola Droid Turbo 2 phoneDroid Turbo 2 Smartphone – I know. It’s not often you want to get someone a phone as a holiday gift. But, if your teen or college-aged child has been bugging you for a new phone this is one of the hottest devices to come out this year and can be customized in an array of colors and textures, something like over 1,000 different combinations. CycleGuy has been using his since Mid-November and likes that it has a unique look to it and isn’t like every other phone sitting on the conference table at meetings. Together with the shatterproof screen and the ability to charge the device in about 15 minutes, the Droid Turbo 2 is perfect for most anyone on your list who needs a new phone.

I’m a Verizon customer and have been for years, long before I started working with them to share about how my family and I use tech. So, for last minute tech gifts I know I can stop in to one of their stores and get any of these and be on my way. A nice gift bag and tissue paper and I get to keep my princess of tech tiara another year. Why settle for a gift card when cool gifts like this are so easy to get!

Sara