Much like many other holidays that we have had recently (see Thanksgiving), Chanuka, is a Holiday that is dedicated to the expression of hodaa/thanks to G-d. This hodaa is one that is expressed out of appreciation for the benefit that was received as a result of the Jewish victory over the Hellenistic influences of society at that time.
It is then only appropriate that after receiving a present from someone else, to reciprocate by thanking them for giving you the gift.
But we must ask, “What makes this holiday any different than any other holiday, let alone any other day?!”
Secondly, there is little to no mention of Chanuka at all! From where can we possibly derive that Chanuka has this unique characteristic that is defined by giving an extra thank you to Hashem?
Rav Yitzchak Hutner ZT”L answers that indeed there is one place where we the miracle of Chanuka is mentioned. In davening! After reciting “Modim”, the blessing of thanks, it is customary both on Purim and Chanuka to mention “Al Hanisim” (some say it with a tune others don’t). There is a clear distinction however, between the concluding content of the Al Hanisim on Purim and that on Chanuka.
On Purim, only the details of the miracle are depicted. Similarly, on Chanuka, the details of the Chashmonayim’s victory over the Yivanim are also mentioned. But while concluding the prayer it ends by saying, “They added these days to give thanks and to praise your great name”.
(Gemara Shabbos 21)Regardless of how subtle and how unobtrusive it is, this concluding line hits us hard; don’t forget to say Thank you!