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Little People Hanukkah Play Set

plastic figurines with presents and kitchen utensils

Hanukkah is a minor holiday in the Jewish calendar. It is a festival of light celebrated in the home with ceremonial candle-lighting and the eating of traditional, deep-fried, oily foods. This winter holiday usually falls during the Christmas season, sometimes coinciding with Christmas day itself. Christmas has become increasingly commercialized over the past decades, particularly in the United States, and Jews living as a cultural and religious minority are bombarded with relentless Christmas marketing. Not only children are allured by a magical, twinkling Christmas tree or the whiff of gingerbread. In a struggle to assert and maintain their identity, increasing numbers of Jewish families have made Hanukkah into a more important festival: it is widely observed with glowing Hanukkah lamps, fresh potato pancakes, and competitive light decorations. But what about the gift dilemma? Gifts are not traditionally given on Hanukkah, but on this point capitulation has been the preferred solution for many.

The U.S. gift industry has noticed this trend and begun developing Hanukkah products, from festival hand towels to dog toys. The industry has become so entrenched that even wrapping paper colors are codified: red and green for Christmas, blue and white for Hanukkah.

As part of its "Little People" Holiday series, which includes nativity scenes and the multicultural "Families in Your Neighborhood" collection, Fisher Price has mass-produced a special play set for Hanukkah. In this food-loving Jewish family, the gift boxes are almost as large as the children.

Object details:
Little People Hanukkah Play Set
Fisher Price
China, ca. 2003–2005
Plastic, cardboard, metal
Various dimensions: height 4.5–11.5 cm, width 4–17.8 cm

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