As you may or may not know, the Jewish holiday Hanukkah began on December 1, commemorating the Maccabean victory that occurred thousands of years ago. The so-called "Festival of Lights" is associated with eating latkes and jelly donuts, spinning dreidels, lighting candles, and......eight days of gifts!
Despite the long-standing tradition of gift-giving on Hanukkah, there really is no reason to give eight days worth of gifts. In fact, giving gifts is a custom specific to certain countries, countries where Christmas is celebrated, as well. Hanukkah gift-giving isn't even a thing in Israel, the home of the Jews.
So, where did this tradition start? Well, it basically started to make Hanukkah a competitor to Christmas so that stores could sell more and little Jewish kids could stop feeling sad that they didn't celebrate Christmas. In elementary school when all my friends bragged about what they were getting for Christmas, I could snap back and tell them that I was getting eight times whatever they were getting — and I'm not going to lie, it felt great to rub it in their faces.
But eventually, my parents broke the truth to me, and I stopped getting Hanukkah gifts. Period. Tragic, I know. Most of my Jewish friends still get their eight days of gifts, and there is nothing wrong with that. At this point, it's a part of the holiday (especially in the United States) and it would almost be like breaking tradition if they were to stop the fun. However, I can now celebrate ~Hanukkah~ for what it really is: a holiday that serves as an excuse to see family, light candles, and feel proud to be Jewish. Although the holiday wouldn't nearly be as big of a deal if it weren't for Christmas being around the same time of year, it is definitely NOT the Jewish equivalent to Christmas.
PS - sorry if the spiel is a little bit of a disappointment, but I had to put it out there.