By the 1890s, in response to the festiveness of the Christmas season, Jewish publishers had begun promoting the Jewish holiday Hanukkah (then commonly referred to as Chanukah) as an occasion for gift-giving among Jews. In 1921, Asher Hamburger, whose popular Hamburger’s Department Store on Broadway in Los Angeles was the largest retail store west of Chicago (later sold to May Company), was believed to be the first to use commercial advertising to promote gift-giving for Hanukkah. At the time, the Jewish community in Los Angeles was rapidly growing, as significant numbers of Jewish immigrants were attracted to the city (the community grew from 17,000 to 43,000, between 1917 and 1923*). Hamburger’s ads offered “Happy Gift Suggestions for Chanukah” and promoted “gifts of apparel,” “gifts for the home,” “remembrances from Toyland for the children,” and “gift boxes of California Fruits and Nuts.”
* East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio by Ricardo Romo. University of Texas Press, 2010.
Also see History of Hanukkah in Los Angeles, 1890s-1920s, Homestead Blog.