I want to clarify for Rabbi Stern’s benefit that I don’t mean to be the Grinch who stole Hanukkah.
Gift-giving is a fun part of the holiday, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with having some fun. The point is also well taken that a thoughtful present, generously offered, can be a truly touching expression of one’s feelings.
The difficulty can come–as it did for the parents in my office–when the emphasis is much more on the receiving than the giving–some kids relate to Hanukkah primarily as a time to grab as much loot as they can, forgetting both the giving and any other lessons of the holiday.
One suggestion that was raised is for children who receive multiple gifts to put a few aside to be donated to organizations such as Toys for Tots, so they can benefit someone less fortunate. That way, the child can have the pleasure of receiving and perhaps come to learn the deeper joy of giving as well.