The evening of December 25th is the first night of Chanukah. Should Jews refrain from giving gifts that evening?
My friends, if you won’t give gifts on Chanukah, you won’t be trangressing any mitzvah d’oraisa or any mitzvah d’rabbanan. There’s no practice, no minhag, no custom that Jews give gifts on Chanukah. Chanukah gifts is an American translation of gentile ways.
Now, I’m not saying if you want to give gifts on Chanukah that you shouldn’t give. But don’t feel that you’re doing a noble and holy thing if you give Chanukah gifts.
TAPE # 245 (December 1978)
Should someone buy gifts for his children on Chanukah?
There’s no harm, but you have to be careful that it shouldn’t enter into the realm of the season’s holidays spirit. It shouldn’t be done because of the general atmosphere of the street, because they’re doing something like that. You have to beware of that attitude.
So, to give cash is a much better idea. Chanukah gelt is a well-known minhag, so give cash if you can.
I don’t say it’s wrong to give gifts; nothing wrong with giving gifts. But make sure, in your own mind at least, that you’re divorced from any thoughts of the season. Chanukah is not the season to give gifts, no, no. It’s not the gift season. You can give gifts anytime. You can give gifts on Shavuos too, and Purim and Pesach. And if you want to give gifts on Chanukah as well, I’m not going to tell you no. But if you’re going to make a big fuss about it and make it into an ideal that Chanukah is the time to give gifts, then you might as well sing carols and put up a Chanukah tree because that’s what it really is.
TAPE # E-170 (December 1998)