There are many different interpretations as to why we celebrate Chanukah for 8 days. The one that I was always taught was that there was only enough oil to burn for 1 day and it lasted 8. This miracle was a gift to the Jewish people which may be why we give gifts for Chanukah, but why is it some people’s tradition to give one gift every day. Didn’t the oil that was supposed to be enough for one day last eight ?
My 8 rules for Chanukah gift giving
As with all Jewish holidays, Chanukah never falls out on the same date each year. The benefit to this, is that you have eight chances to get a Chanukah gift to your Jewish friends, collegues or clients. That being said, make sure that you give the gift during Chanukah.(#1)
Don’t send a gift adorned with Christmas decorations or with Christmas wrapping and a Christmas greeting card. Happy Holidays is a safe bet if you are unsure whether your clients celebrate Christmas, Chanukah or Kwanzaa. When trying to woo a client or impress a potential client, the last thing you would want to do is offend them! (#2)
No need to give 8 gifts…one will suffice! (#3)
Kids always like to get Chanukah gelt (money) whether its chocolate money or the real thing. If your tradition is to give 8 gifts, then gelt is a no brainer for one of the eight gifts.(#4)
Rule # 5: Only give money to family. DO NOT give money to neighbours, clients, coworkers or friends.
Since Chanukah very often falls in mid to late December. I usually spend more time at the office then at home and I cannot always celebrate with my family all eight days. And some years there is a big item on my children’s wish list. Rule # 6, try to give children the gifts that they want and don’t be hung up on the 8 day tradition. However if you must, here are some small gift ideas that won’t break the bank and are probably things you are already paying for anyways.
- Movie passes
- I-tunes gift card
- Tim Hortons gift card
- Their favourite chocolate
As with most Jewish holidays, food always has a role and Chanukah is no different. Since we are celebrating the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days , we traditionally eat fried foods like donuts and potato pancakes(latkes). Food gifts, especially gift baskets are a great gift to send if you are invited for a Chanukah party or to wish your Jewish clients a Happy Chanukah. Do not send them a smoked ham or turkey! (#7)
Every year our family(cousins, aunt and uncles) get together for a Chanukah party. We do not exchange gifts, but instead we do a gift exchange. Some years we do it Chinese auction style so the gifts have to be somewhat generic and other times we do a “secret Santa” style exchange. Either way everybody gets to unwrap a present. Be thankful and grateful for what you receive and remember that somebody went out of their way to buy the gift!(#8)
What are some of your holiday gift giving rules? traditions? do’s and don’ts?