Hey all you Jewish fans, let me hear you clap your hands! Grab your menorahs and sharpen your dreidels because the most wonderful time of year has snuck up on us again! No, I am not talking about Christmas, but rather Hanukkah – the festival of lights.
In America these days, society prepares us for the Christmas season starting on Black Friday, a month before the special day; but no one ever really prepares us for Hanukkah (or Kwanzaa, besides that Proud Family episode way back when). Your little cousin or sibling will scurry back from Hebrew school, hands full of Hanukkah gelt, “Oh Hanukkah” stuck in his/her head, and Maccabee stories for all, yet each year it comes as a shock to all of us when Hanukkah is just around the corner. You try to remember back to when you had to attend Hebrew school (Monday/Wednesday, Tuesday/Thursday, and for some of you lucky ones, even Sunday), but all you can recall is something about oil. So here’s a little refresher.
Hanukkah is a holiday that occurs anywhere from late November to early December (no wonder it always comes out of nowhere), celebrating the Maccabees’ rededication of the temple in Jerusalem. By some divine miracle, one day’s worth of oil allowed the temple’s menorah to burn bright for eight days. But don’t let me bore you with history that didn’t stick the first time (or the 10 times in Hebrew school until your Bar Mitzvah graduation), let me turn it over to a fellow Jew: Adam Sandler. “Put on your yarmulke, here comes Hanukkah. It’s so much fun-akkah, to celebrate Hanukkah. Hanukkah is the festival of lights, instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights” (and yes, that means you can ask for eight presents). We all love the holiday traditions that come with Hanukkah such as spinning the dreidel, eating latkes, and lighting the menorah, not to mention the EIGHT NIGHTS OF PRESENTS (can’t stress this enough).
So this year, I’m doing all of you a favor and warning you a little early. Hanukkah is not going to be a phantom holiday this year, but rather a well presented fiesta, mostly due to this fab blog post by me. This year Hanukkah starts on December 20, so this is your fair warning to start asking for presents! Luckily you Jews will not feel left out during this coming holiday season, because Hanukkah falls the same week as Christmas! “Chrismukkah”, impressively named by the cast of O.C. back in my middle school years is the ultimate American holiday. Another advantage of Hanukkah and Christmas falling in the same week and a half? All of the holiday TV episodes will actually air at the right time rather than too early or too late! We all remember the Rugrats Hanukkah episode, Even Stevens “Heck of a Hanukkah,” the Hanukkah Armadillo on Friends, and of course our best Friend[s] Phoebe Buffay’s wonderful lyrics, “Happy Hannukah Monica, may your Christmas be snowy Joey…” To our advantage, we can enjoy these classics this year without our pants being too tight from oily latkes the week before, or our mouth watering at the idea of Hanukkah gelt.
There you have it. Hanukkah is December 20 this year. You have three weeks to ask for the ultimate gift under your Hanukkah bush. Ready, set, Dormify!