The Perfect Bar Mitzvah Gift Guide 2020

 

You sit down at your table to open the mail, and in front of you lies this large, bulky envelope, embroidered with leather and a fancy gold stamp. Two weeks ago, you received a similar envelope, but that piece doesn’t come close to the one you’re holding. 

You open it up, as your suspicion is confirmed, it’s a Bar Mitzvah invitation from the neighbors three blocks down. It’s a three-part celebration: pre-party, Torah reading, and the large outdoor party. 

Since you are friendly with the parents and your eldest son is good friends with their son, you want to go all-in for a gift. At that moment, it hits you. You sit up straight, you stare straight at the wall and realize it has been over 20 years since you went to a Bar Mitzvah. 

In this gift guide, you’ll learn: 

    • What’s hot and what’s not 
    • What’s on everyone’s wish list 
    • What Jewish symbolic or traditional items are still a hot topic (we’re not talking Matzah Ball Soup). 

Before we get to what’s hot and what’s not, let’s talk about anything off-limits.

What not to buy a 13 year old boy

    • Baseball and basketball cards (any cards for that matter) are off-limits. 
    • Bar Mitzvah boys have just about finished organizing their collecting, and it is now renting space on the top shelf of his bookcase. –
    • Candlesticks are generally given to girls. Do not let the store clerk at the local Judaica store bully you into buying candlesticks for a boy. 
    • Generally speaking, boys do not want articles of clothing for their Bar Mitzvah gift. Shoes and ugly sweaters are a different story (keep reading). 
    • Last but not least, candy. There will be plenty of candy at the party and tons of leftovers. Candy platters are often given to hosts at Shabbat meals as a thank you, not to Bar Mitzvah boys. 

The hottest gifts for a bar mitzvah boy.

Tech Gift for Bar Mitzvah Boy

Tech is HOT!

The worst thing you want to give is something that ends up collecting dust on a shelf or stuffed in a drawer. You vividly remember how many items you left at your parents from your Bar Mitzvah. No! Don’t gift any of those items, even if they still in the original packaging! 

From headphones to speakers, from Nintendo Switch to Apple watches, it’s all fair game. A thoughtful tech gift would be a significant power bank for his phone. If you know he’s into gaming or movies, splurge and gift a projector or a PC gaming controller. Into photography? You can’t go wrong with a DJI drone or tripod with Bluetooth controls. 

If you’re looking to stay conservative, GameStop, BestBuy, Apple, and Amazon gift cards are all safe bets. 

If you’re looking for a top 10 wish list, you’ve come to the right place. While these may be the top 10 gifts most teenagers want, the gift that will light up their faces the most will match their personality. Parents prefer their friends inquiring about their son’s passions and interests rather than just buying whatever came up in the Amazon suggestion box. The more personalized the gift, the bigger the smile. 

    1. Gaming System or a Custom Gaming Computer
    2. VR Goggles
    3. Portable Speakers
    4. Segway mini scooter
    5.  Noise Canceling Headphones/Airpods 
    6. GoPro cameras 
    7. Sneakers (Nike Air Force One, Adidas Stan Smith, 
    8. SpikeBall 
    9. Nerf Gun 
    10. Personal Charging Hub 

Personalized gifts have been around for a long time. In some ways, it’s more meaningful to receive a personalized gift than one you picked up on your way to the party. An autographed or inscribed sterling silver Torah pointer or a customized Tzedakah box might make a lasting impression. If you want to combine Covid-19 and a Bar Mitzvah gift, perhaps think about personalizing masks with their invitation, picture, or the date of the big bash. 

JUDAICA GIFTS FOR BAR MITZVAH BOYS

The Jewish symbolic or traditional items that are still a hot topic include: 

    • Golden Chai or Jewish star necklaces/chains 
    • Jewish ugly sweaters and socks 
    • Mezuza 
    • Tefillin carrying case 
    • Pocket Siddur (inscribed with their name) If the Bar Mitzvah os centered around or falls out in or nearby a Holiday, here are some suggestions you can look into for gift options. 
    • Menorah for Hanukkah 
    • Esrog and Lulav carrying case (it may look like a shotgun case, but I assure you, it’s not.) 
    • Shofar 
    • A Passover Seder Plate 
    • Megillah (scroll) for Purim 

Nowadays, in our customizable world, there are many Judaica products you can personalize. For example- you can add an inscription on a Tallit (Prayer Shawl) or a Kipa. You can even put cool logos or fancy designer texts on Kippa. Some families even make their own Kippas for all who are invited. Jerusalem artwork and photography are also trendy. Numerous sites online offer ascetically pleasing framing and poster design printing services to make your gift look stunning. 

Giving Money As A Bar Mitzvah Gift

As commonly done in Jewish tradition, giving money in multitudes of $18 is also an acceptable gift. The number 18 represents the numerical value of the word Chai. Chai means life. Generally, life is celebrated at any Jewish party. The term “L’chaim” – “To Life,” often said when making a toast while drinking wine or alcohol, comes from the word Chai. As a boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah, in Torah law, he is now considered an adult, responsible for his actions, and expected to follow all commandments. It’s an auspicious time in his life. What more significant way to bring home that point than by inspiring him to do great things with his life, change the world and make it a brighter place?! If you are giving a check or cash, some like to write a card advising on where the money should go, whether it’s to a college fund or savings account. Some kids do follow sticks. If you know the Bar Mitzvah boy is into financial investments, why not give him some stocks or investments. It’s a gift that can keep growing over time, perhaps the best gift you can give. In fact, you can go online and purchase Israel bonds and gift them. This way, you kill two birds with one stone- supporting Israel and giving a gift that will continue to grow. 

There are funds you can put money into to help the Bar Mitzvah boy go on an Israel trip. There are even foundations you can sponsor someone’s trip to Israel, trees, or also help make a Bar Mitzvah for those that are less fortunate and don’t have the funds to do so. In the Torah, G-d compares the number of Jews to the number of stars in the sky. Another unique gift idea, one with a powerful message, is to buy a star in the Bar Mitzvah Boy’s honor. He’ll receive a plaque and a picture of where there is located in the sky. The message could be: as a Jewish adult, you are a unique light onto the nations. There’s no one else like you. May you be blessed that you can shine your light, be unique, and remember only you can be you. 

Jewish books are the one thing we didn’t discuss in this article. As the world becomes more digitally advanced, fewer and fewer teenagers choose to read physical books. However, many still do, Here are some suggestions of what books you can gift for a Bar Mitzvah. 

    • Jewish Fiction 
    • Amazon has a great list of Best Sellers. 
    • Jewish Novels 
    • Kosher Cookbooks 
    • Jewish History 
    • Jewish Humor 
    • Jewish Text Study 

Upon entering the party, there generally will be a large table for gifts. Either on or near the table, there will also be a box for cash and check envelopes. Do not give your contribution to the Bar Mitzvah boy whatsoever, especially if it’s an envelope with money, it will get lost. As you write the card, don’t forget to write who it’s from and include “Mazal Tov” and congratulations. Most importantly, show up, celebrate with the family knowing full well, and give a top-notch gift. 

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