How Hanukkah Works

Hanukkah Gelt

Boy with gelt candy Boy with gelt candy
Christmas may have influenced the Jewish tradition of giving gelt, encouraging the exchange of gifts during the eight days of Hanukkah. PNC/Getty Images

The word gelt means "money" in Yiddish. On Hanukkah, there is a tradition of giving real or chocolate coins as presents to children. Most likely because Hanukkah falls near Christmas, giving gelt has evolved into giving and receiving other presents on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah.