Though Hanukah is not historically characterized as a holiday of gift giving, over the years it has become the custom to give gifts on this holiday too. I am well aware of the fact that in other countries, this has become one of the most outstanding characteristics of this holiday season. Years ago, when today’s grandparents were children, toys and personal gifts to children were a rare thing. Children had a few toys which they would treasure for years. When a special holiday or event took place, the kids would get a gift, and it would mean a lot to them. Sometimes, they would fantasize the fountain pen, the sled, or a personal toy for some time before the holiday came around. In today’s highly commercialized world, there has been an escalation in the cost of the gifts… but the present itself has become less valuable to the recipient. There are so many, and possessions have a shorter life than they used to have.
I like to see the present as a personal communication between the generations, and try to include a lesson, or statement in the choice of the gift, for it is a rare opportunity to share those things that are truly precious to me, with the young generation. I know that there are pressures to satisfy the expectations of children. And they, in turn, are stimulated by advertisements and publicity. But in this changing world, should we just go along with the powerful commercial wave? Or should we try to build bridges of understanding and communication with the youth, despite the deafening noise of advertisement?