Bye-bye Thanksgiving, Hello Chanukah and Christmas!

In order that my holiday shopping remains fun and festive, I search relentlessy for the new, the interesting, and the downright inventive every year. From atomic clocks to keychain tools to dancing dreidels, I search for them all — and particularly if they are made by a 50 plusser.

The first item worth mentioning this year is the inventive AND preventive MenorahMate, an ingenious addition to the Chanukah celebration. For any of you who celebrate Chanukah, or who have been to celebrations at the homes of Jewish friends, you’ll remember seeing the beautiful menorahs…with streams of hot wax…dripping down on the table…or as in many homes, on a sheet of aluminum foil!

Hello MenorahMate:

“We knew that there simply had to be a better way of protecting the table. And even more importantly, we wanted to create a renewed connection to the three traditional blessings, to encourage everyone at the table to participate,” comments the product’s creator Debra Wurzel (a Gen Plusser, of course) of Los Angeles.

What is MenorahMate? A smart concept — a protective, décor-enhancing mat with a soft, non-skid backing, designed for use under the menorah combined with the Chanukah blesssing imprinted right on the surface in Hebrew, English, and transliteration.

In addition to protecting the tabletop, “This product is unique because it places the blessings right in the center of the holiday, where they belong,” says Wurzel.

I find it a great product and in addition to the contemporary design, I particularly like the fact that the wax just pops off the mat after a bit of time in the freezer.

Launched just in time for Chanukah 2007, MenorahMate already has generated excitement within the Jewish community and has popped up in stores across the US. Best of all, this product is manufactured in the US… in Los Angeles, California. For more information, a list of retailers or to order MenorahMate, visit

Lots of fun, not too expensive, great for a family or friend gift and also wonderful for office acquaintances and friends. I’ll let you know about any other great finds as I continue on my merry shopping jaunts.

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