8 Times TV Didn't Totally Forget Hanukkah Existed

by Emily Krauser 2:30 PM PST, December 16, 2014
Photo: FOX

Sure, those of us who celebrate Hanukkah get eight crazy nights of lighting the menorah, presents and parental guilt, but you know what we don't get? Literally hundreds of songs, television specials, or commercials about our December (sometimes November) holiday. Also, Christmas trees.

We're all for Santa Claus and Christmas miracles, but sometimes Jewish kids just want to feel the pop culture love too. Luckily, we've been given that gift on a few occasions. Put on your yarmulkes -- it's time to celebrate the eight best times Maccabees got a little love on TV.

1. The O.C.
All hail the greatest holiday of all: Chrismukkah! For four glorious seasons, we swooned over Seth Ezekiel Cohen's inventive day and the mad joy with which he celebrated it. Seth and his best friend/adopted brother Ryan Atwood never had to choose between celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah, and Jesus and Moses were always on their side to save them from getting into trouble. There were also many, many presents and one year, even a Bar Mitz-vakkah for Ryan (season three), because in the immortal words of Seth: "Chrismukkah is unruinable."

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2. Saturday Night Live
The sketch show staple brought not one but two of the most well-known Hanukkah spoofs to life: Jon Lovitz's Christmas hero, Hanukkah Harry, and Adam Sandler's original "Hanukkah Song." Eight pairs of socks and spinning the dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock? Not too shabby!


3. Rugrats
If thinking Tommy Pickles as little Judah is wrong, than we don't want to be right. Season four of the animated series kicked off with "A Rugrats Chanukah," their second Jewish holiday special. From a Maccababy doing what a Maccababy's gotta do to Grandpa Boris' fight with his rival Shlomo, a.k.a "The Meanie of Chanukah," this adorably informative Chanukah episode was everything we could ask for from our favorite cartoon munchkins. (We're sorry you had to find out this way, Muppet Babies.)

4. Friends
In "The One with the Holiday Armadillo" (season six), Ross Gellar tries so hard to get his Santa-obsessed, half-Jewish son Ben to appreciate Hanukkah that he winds up in an armadillo costume. (The Holiday Armadillo is Santa Claus' representative for all the southern states and Mexico, naturally.) Not only does Ben learn about the Festival of Lights, he also gets to light the menorah with The Holiday Armadillo, Santa Claus, and Superman. Or as Phoebe Buffay more accurately described it, guests at the Easter Bunny's funeral.

5. The Colbert Show
The 2008 holiday special "A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All" won a Grammy and more importantly our hearts when John Stewart tried to get his Christmas-crazed buddy Stephen Colbert to consider the "sensitive alternative to Christmas," Hanukkah. Despite the offering of pocket latkes and dreidels, the delightful song did not change Colbert's mind.

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6. South Park
In the season one episode "Mr. Hankey, The Christmas Poo," Kyle is the saddest Jewish boy in South Park. His friends won't let him eat Christmas snow or go to the mall to talk to Santa about presents. What's a bummed-out kid to do? Sing about it, of course! We understand Kyle's pain -- it is hard to be a lonely Jew on Christmas. At least Kyle had Mr. Hankey, even if his friends don't believe the Poo was real.


7. The Nanny
You know who would devote 21 hilarious minutes of television to Hanukkah? Our favorite nasally nanny from Queens, Fran Drescher. Regardless of which winter holiday you celebrate, the season six episode "The Hanukkah Story" is all about what matters most: Family and a tireless devotion to leopard print.

Photo: ABC

8. Brothers and Sisters
A lesson in the maternal lineage of Judaism? An inquisitive little girl questioning why Grandma didn't celebrate Hanukkah just because Grandpa loved Christmas so much? A conversation about being ethnically Jewish versus a practicing Jew? What is this, a discussion about religious beliefs disguised as good storytelling? Oh, yes, that's exactly what this is. How forward-thinking of you, Brothers and Sisters, and in your first season, too. Now about those Hanukkah recipes in The Joy of Cooking -- just how good are they?

Happy Hanukkah from everyone at ETonline!