When I read my fellow blogger, Carla's article about Hanukkah without presents, I wanted to cry. Growing up with a birthday in the middle of Hanukkah, I always felt shortchanged from my fair share of the loot. I got one gift for two occasions. To make matters worse, I also share a birthday with my mother. Whereas other children got a special day hogging the spotlight, I felt overshadowed by my mother. It doesn't take a psychoanalyst to figure out why I would be touchy about the subject of Hanukkah presents.
I agree with Carla that Hanukkah isn't supposed to be about presents, but we live in a country where the majority is celebrating Christmas with conspicuous consumption. Unless you don't mind your kids becoming bitter resentful adults like me, there's no easy way to convince your kids to forgo presents for the sake of moral/political/religious purity when all of their friends will be brandishing brand-new toys.