Skip To Content

Not Sure What to Give This Hanukkah? Have You Considered a Rock?

It’s an annual holiday tradition to circulate and mock outrageously expensive gift guides. (Goop’s being the prime example.) But there’s a new contender: the rock-in-a-pouch. Why was Nordstrom selling a rock in a leather pouch for $85 and more to the point, why is it sold out? (Limited supply, possibly. A good rock is hard to find.)

There are competing political interpretations: on The Pool, Caroline O’Donoghue is “not saying that this rock-in-a-bag is a perfect metaphor for Donald Trump” but from the context it’s clear that yes, that is exactly what she’s saying, and she has me pretty convinced. Meanwhile, at the Cut, Anna Silman points to the potential use of rocks as self-defense tools in the coming apocalypse.

A further theory, from yours truly: A (viral) non-story about a knick-knack deflects attention from the department store’s decision to keep selling Ivanka Trump’s brand. Look, here we are, contemplating Nordstrom, which is reminding me of the great (non-Ivanka) boots I bought at the then-new Toronto store before getting enlightened about the Ivanka connection, and… the next thing you know, you’re in one of those e-commerce hazes where you forget about politics altogether. Maybe that’s the idea?

Allow me, however, one final thought about the rock-pouch: Why not a rock in a pouch? That is, why is $85 for an unclassifiable home-decor item the end of the world, but call it a sculpture (or indeed, as the website suggests, a “paperweight”) and suddenly it could go for thousands? (Note that this is all theoretical. I’m not at the life stage for spending $85 on knick-knacks, classifiable or otherwise.)

I currently own a too-small leather handbag, so small that using it requires shifting everything in my wallet into a separate, tiny wallet, which is a hassle, so the handbag doesn’t get as much use as it should. To paraphrase from a fellow Abrahamic religion, I’m in no position to cast a leather-wrapped stone.

Phoebe Maltz Bovy edits the Sisterhood, and can be reached at [email protected]. Her book, The Perils of “Privilege”, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2017.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.