As a full fledged member of the tribe- and a yeshiva graduate (okay I dropped out after 10 th grade for the mean streets of public high school- but still feel I logged in plenty of quality Jewish learning during those formative ten years) in my opinion Chanukah is by far one of the best Jewish holidays.
For one, there's no dwelling on suffering…you don't need to fast, atone for your sins or spend all day in synagogue praying to g-d to shine his mercy on you. NAH- this holiday is all about getting your party on; gorging on greasy fried foods like latkes, aka potato pancakes, and sufganiyot, aka jelly donuts. And then there is the present factor. Unlike our Christian friends- we get eight nights of presents.
Still growing up all I really wanted was to slip into a window display at Macy's and embrace the pimped out Christmas tree, and rosy-cheeked electronic Santa as my own, drink a punchbowl full of eggnog and of course go caroling. Hanukkah just didn't hold that same appeal for me that the winter wonderland, jingle belled filled Kris Kringled Miracle on 34 th Street Irving Berlin's White Christmas did. As a kid lighting the menorah and eating latkes just weren't nearly as seductive! Sure there was the eight presents but they weren't nestled under a tree after being dropped off by a burly- white-bearded jolly old man.
So when I had kids I was intent on giving them a holiday that, at the very least, would not pale that much in comparison to all the pomp and circumstance of Christmas. And to that end- Chanukah in our house is all about playing dreidel( a spinning top) for LOTS of cold hard cash, eating chocolate coins and jelly donuts till we're blue in the face and attending as many menorah making workshops and latke eating parties as we can possibly muster up the energy for. Oh yes and then there is the issue of presents.. each night they get one of those!