Meaningful Gifts for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah
I often get asked what to gift for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Being Jewish and a big fan of gift giving (and receiving), I’m here to help.
First, your presence is always the best present. Gifts are not mandatory, but are typically given to celebrate this milestone in a Jewish teen’s life as the ceremony marks their transition into adulthood in the eyes of the religion. Much like Judaism itself, there is no one size fits all advice approach as each ceremony (and most likely, party to follow) will be unique and based on the traditions of the family and whether they are Reform, Conservative or Orthodox. When it comes to gifting, there are several traditional gifts and some more modern approaches, all of course depend on how well you know the recipient and how much you would like to spend. Below, my go-to ideas, the why behind them and specific ideas by budget.
- Money – Because this ceremony marks the transition into adulthood, many people give money so that the Bar or Bat Mitzvah may put it away for the future, or donate to a Mitzvah project. Money is typically given in increments of 18, which symbolizes life in Judaism. For example, if you wanted to give a gift around $200, you might choose to give $180 or $198. There are often cards you can purchase with a Mazel Tov theme that have a check slot.
- A Gift for the Future – Is a 13 year old going to use a Mont Blanc pen every day? No. Will they be glad they have it when they’re starting their first job at 21? Yes. The forward thinking gifts are my favorite to give, because they’re the gifts I still remember receiving at age 36. Scroll for some more ideas, but other thoughts include a money clip, a driver (Michael remembers who gave him this gift for his Bar Mitzvah), a silver mint julep cup (I store makeup brushes in mine) or a silver frame.
- Jewelry or a Time Piece – My favorite gift from my Bat Mitzvah was my Tiffany heart tag charm bracelet (which at the time was probably a $250 gift, and is now $500). My grandparents had my name engraved on it and while it’s something that though I no longer wear, I cherish and will give to Elle. Tiffany necklaces are still a popular choice to give and a watch is also a lovely idea.
- An Experience – Perhaps the Bar Mitzvah loves sports and you have tickets to a hard-to-get event, or there is a concert that the Bat Mitzvah wants to attend and you know the artist. Gifts like this are completely acceptable and likely very much appreciated, as long as you’ve sorted details with the parents ahead of time.
- Something for Now – It’s a joy to be able to gift something meaningful to the important people in your life and it’s lovely to give a gift that is special in the here and now. Whether it’s giving your niece her first designer purse or giving your nephew a pair of Air Jordans at the top of his wish list, the excitement factor is palpable when you pick a gift in this category.
When to Give the Gift?
In my experience, gifts are typically given at the Bar or Bat Mitzvah party, versus being brought to the Temple. If you are only invited to the service or there isn’t a party, mailing the gift or envelope with a check is completely appropriate. If giving a gift during the service, I would stick with something that fits in an envelope. For gifts that don’t fit in an envelope, scroll on to shop by category!
Gift Ideas Under $100
Gift Ideas Under $250
Gift Ideas Over $250
This white dress is perfect for a ceremony type occasion. Paired here with these lovely pumps. My coat is many years old, but found a similar one here and here! Elle’s is La Coqueta – one of my favorite brands for her.
Jennings was having the night of his life! His driving shoes are an essential part of his wardrobe. From dinners out to special events, they work with almost everything.
Not Sure What to Wear?
I often get asked what to wear or how to dress littles for Bar & Bat Mitzvahs too. The service is typically formal and similar to attire you might wear to Church or on Easter. The party invitation will likely include a dress code!
If you have children attending, dress them accordingly and be sure to get your gal a twirly dress for the celebration as there is usually dancing!