My Home and My Experience
Born and raised in Brighton Beach by Russian, Jewish immigrant parents, I felt both proud and open with being a Jew, but not especially anxious to celebrate the holidays. My parents, themselves, were not very religious; so the holidays were, at the most, a time to get together with family with no specific set of customs, aside from lighting the menorah of course.
According to Matthew and Rabbi Zelikovitz, their traditions included receiving gifts, small, trivial ones, during certain times of the Hanukkah celebration. Matthew received several small gifts where as the Rabbi received a general small gift for the entirety of the holiday, which they exchanged between family members.
My family, however, never speculated much gift giving during this season. The only gifts I received were usually cash from my grand-parents or distant relatives. The bulk of the celebration consisted of inviting over family, having a nice dinner, and watching Hanukkah related films or television.
I understand Gilt, or Chocolate coins, were of an Eastern European influence,
which makes sense, as my great-grand mother seemed as if she had an endless supply when Hanukkah came around!