Why Do We Give Gifts on Hanukkah?
Hanukkah is around the corner, and we all know what that means.....Gifts!
But have we always been exchanging gifts on Hanukkah?
Is this an ancient tradition, or a new one?
Well, the truth is, historians don't really know where this tradition comes from, but they have guesses! It's clear that exchanging gifts has become popular only in the last century or so, and most likely taken from the different cultures around us during the holiday season.
Before we were giving gifts during the Festival of Lights, we began with exchanging gift baskets on Purim (mishloach manot!), which is one of the 3 mitzvot (commandments) of the day. However for Hanukkah, there is no such mitzvah. In fact, the gift giving truly began among American Jewry, with parents who didn't want their children to feel left out while their friends around them received Christmas presents. Some say it was especially encouraged in the years after the Holocaust, to help raise the spirits and Jewish pride within Jewish families.
It seems that Hanukkah gelt (gold coins) were the first of the Hanukkah presents, potentially representing the independence of the Jews during the time of the Hanukkah story from the Greeks. Their ability to make their own, independent money in an independent state is still celebrated today! With time, those coins became chocolate coins for children to play dreidel with, and gift giving was eventually added to the mix!
While this tradition of gifts over the 8 days of Hanukkah may have begun primarily in America, the sentiment has traveled to Jews across the globe, becoming a culturally Jewish thing to do.
Today, exchanging gifts is widely accepted, but how and what is still up in the air, leaving the choice to you! Some families choose to give 8 small gifts each night, to keep the fun going, while some choose to give one gift for the whole holiday. Big or small- whether it's a vacation, a book, or a cute new pair of socks- this custom is a fun one! Because it's a tradition with no real particular symbolism, we have the ability to create with it what we want!
Get a group together and do "Secret Maccabee", the Hanukkah version of Secret Santa. Every name goes into a hat, and each person has someone to buy a Hanukkah gift for.
If you are looking for some exciting, Israeli-made Hanukkah gifts to gift your loved one both in Israel or abroad, head on over to iKonnect's online Israeli store, a forum created to bring you the best Israeli products for all gift-giving occasions.
Whether you're looking for an already made gift basket, a unique piece of Israeli art, or deliciously smelling products from the Dead Sea, iKonnect is the place for you! When you shop with us, you can be sure you are supporting local Israeli entrepreneurs!
iKonnect offers some of the finest Israeli-made jewelry, the perfect gift for special women in your life. Jewelry that is meaningful and unique, made with the magic of Israel!
Sometimes sending someone a gift basket is more exciting than a regular gift! It's not only easier, but also eclectic and a nice surprise. Plus it's always fun to sift through the different goodies inside!
Israeli Art and ceramics
A home is not complete without Israeli art brightening the walls and decorating the rooms! Bring a piece of Israeli style into your home with some beautiful Israeli ceramics.
Israel is home to the healing and organic herbs and teas we drink each night to keep us warm! Especially as we gear up for winter, Shalva Tea is the perfect Hanukkah present for those chilly days!
Israel is known around the world for its unique Dead Sea products- lotions and creams that heal with the magic touch of Israel! Gifting deliciously smelling bath bombs and salts, body butter and face masks would make anyone happy.
There is no better gift for the family than game night! Check out Monopoly- Israel version, and the Israeli favorite The Falafel King! Jewish holidays always encourage us to take a break and spend time with family and friends. This year, do so with fun games!
Looking to stock up on Hanukkah essentials?
Buy beautiful and artsy menorah candles to light up your home from the city of Tsfat!
Refill your stash of delicious Hanukkah gelt for your family (and you too!) here!