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Meaningful gifts

Unique Christian- or Jewish-themed items available for holidays

December 4, 2011
By RODNEY MINOR , The Leader Herald

When it comes to finding gifts for people of the Christian or Jewish faith, there are a variety of unusual and interesting items available.

Linda Eastman, an owner of Broadalbin Christian Bookstore, said people often come to the store as Christmas nears seeking items other stores do not carry.

"People are looking for the gift with lasting spiritual meaning," Eastman said.

Article Photos

Linda Eastman, an owner of Broadalbin Christian Bookstore, holds a box of Scripture Tea in her store Tuesday.
The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

The store on North Main Street in the village of Broadalbin is filled with items that have Bible verses on them, including jewelry, music boxes, T-shirts, napkins and paintings. There are others that have Christian-themed inspirational messages, such as the "I am Jesus' Little Lamb" bandages.

A "majorly cool" recent addition at the business are boxes of Scripture Tea, Eastman said. Inspirational Christian messages are written on the tags on the tea bags.

While some of the items carry a serious message, she said, others are humorous. Along those lines, there is a blue baby's bib that reads "Jesus is the King of Kings. I am the Prince of Wails."

Dale West, an owner and manager of Fishermen's Supply Christian Bookstore in Johnstown, said unique Christian-themed items shoppers can find at his store are signs.

At about 18 inches by 24 inches - about the size of many political lawn signs people put up during election season,?West said - one sign has a silhouette of Bethlehem and the Three Wise Men and read "Jesus is the reason for the season." A different one has a Nativity scene and reads, "Happy?Birthday, Jesus."

West said another "really cool" item this year are translucent window clings. About 3 feet by 5 feet in size, West?said, they show a nativity scene. What makes them unique is when a light is shined through them, he said, they look like a stained-glass window.

While children's bibles tend to be the big seller for the Broadalbin?Christian Bookstore at this time of year, Eastman said, the second most popular item tends to change from year to year.

"The gift market changes so much," she said.

Eastman said Amish-themed fiction books are popular right now. Noting the store has two bookcases filled with those books, Eastman said the Amish lifestyle and "plain living" seems to have resonated with younger readers who have become interested in the minimalist movement since the recession hit.

Hanukkah gifts

Fresh spins on playing with dreidels, along with Jewish takes on classic games and toys, are everywhere as unique Hanukkah gifts.

For some Jewish families, gathering to play games as the holiday candles burn is part of the eight-day Festival of Lights commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple by the Maccabees after their victory over the Syrians. But let's face it, spinning a dreidel for money, chocolate or otherwise, can be mind-numbingly dull, for older kids and grown-ups, at least.

That's why the "heebsters" over at carry the Spinagogue, a mighty stadium in the center of a Star of David-shaped board. It comes with six different "terrains" for courageous spin-offs between players and has storage for gelt, because - as the box says - "No Gelt, No Glory!" And it has walls, so no watching dreidels fly off the table or under the couch.

Modern Tribe, founded by Jennie Rivlin Roberts in Atlanta, combined Texas Hold'em poker with dreidel play in its No Limit Texas Dreidel Game. The object? To have the best dreidel "hand" by combining spins. There are private spins, in shakers, and "community" spins all can see.

Other offerings at Modern Tribe include building brick mezuzah cases, from a company called Jew Dads, come in characters from Star Wars and Toy Story to hang from door posts as a sign of faith. The brick is glued together but one piece on top comes off to slip in the traditional parchments inscribed with verses from the Torah.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.



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