On each night of Hanukkah (which is also known as the festival of lights), we light the menorah, left to right, using the Shamash or center candle to light the others. A prayer is said in Hebrew, with a slightly different one to commemorate the first night. Then the children receive a small gift. This continues for eight nights.
I have to say, when I was a kid, I thought this was a much better deal than the single day of Christmas I got! We also give the kids chocolate coins (known as Hanukkah gelt; by the way, Israel’s national bank created special coins to be used as gelt in 1958). Invariably, these treats are eaten immediately! Many people play with a dreidel but this practice never stuck with us for some reason, even though I break one out every year. I have always believed it is important to provide a perspective on both religions to our kids and took it upon myself when they were younger to learn more about Hanukkah (my in-laws were very proud!). In previous years, I have put together informative readings for each night. We would go through the history of the holiday, the symbols and how people celebrate, with a little discussion before gifts were distributed. This year, with the kids getting older, we decided to give only one larger gift versus eight. I also instituted a Hanukkah quiz to keep them fresh on the meaning of the holiday.