Far Away From the Commercialism
I completely agree with her. As a matter of fact, it was one of the reasons that I wanted to make aliyah in the first place. Here even the non-religious know that the most important holidays in the year are Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, followed by Pesach and Sukkot. Chanukah is wonderful, and is my favorite holiday in fact, but at least here in Israel it is kept in proportion.
When my kids were smaller, I would get a huge amount of satisfaction from the joy they took from simple gifts. After lighting candles, once or twice during the eight day holiday, I would give them inexpensive things I found in town. A bag of marbles, new crayons, or a plastic animal would be greeted with more pleasure than a fancy electronic toy. These small gifts, with a small amount of Chanukah gelt (money) would be the sum total of the commercialized aspect of the holiday.
After my in-laws made aliyah, things became a bit more complicated. Saba and Savta couldn't give up the pleasure of spoiling their grandchildren, so the Chanukah gelt increased greatly. My kids are older now, and their tastes have grown up a bit too. But they know that birthday time is when to ask for something big, and Chanukah is the time for family and making our own latkes and sufganiyot (I make the latkes, westbankpapa makes the donuts).
Add to this the fact that the only thing that is red and green around here is the Israeli salad, and you get one more reason to love living in Israel.
Chanukah sameach to all my readers.