The very best Hanukkah gifts TV has ever given us
Happy first night of Hanukkah, Gigglers! The Festival of Lights begins tonight and will last eight glorious nights. That means 8 opportunities for TV to step up and add some Hanukkah-themed episodes to the mix. We love a good Christmas special, but there’s something about Hanukkah that seems to inspire some (if not enough) truly special TV. Here’s the best of the lot:
Friends: ‘The One with the Holiday Armadillo’
When it’s Ross’ turn to have his son Ben during the holidays, he sees an opening to teach him about Hanukkah and his Jewish heritage. But things backfire when Ben is disappointed to learn Santa isn’t coming. So like the great dad he is, Ross attempts to rent a Santa suit but ends up with the only costume available so close to Christmas—an armadillo suit. In the end he’s able to bond with his son about their faith, and with the help of Chandler as Santa (and Joey as Superman, because obviously), he teaches Ben the story of Hanukkah.
The Nanny: ‘Hanukkah Story’
When Fran Fine wants something, she finds a way to get it. In her first holiday season married to Maxwell she’s excited to officially celebrate Hanukkah as a family, until he gets stuck in a snowstorm with Gracie and C.C. and she doesn’t hear from them. They finally come home, marveling that their car only had enough gas for an hour, but it lasted for eight. A true Hanukkah miracle for the new family! Another miracle: any time we get to see Grandma Yetta on screen.
The Rugrats: ‘A Rugrats Chanukah’
This special has so many memorable lines, like Tommy’s “A Maccababy’s gotta do what a Maccababy’s gotta do!” and Angelica’s “Chh-an-ukah. You have to ‘chh’ when you say it.” When Grandpa shares the story of the holiday with the babies, they re-enact it for themselves, imagining the past and searching for the “meany of Chanukah” (as opposed to the “meaning”). ‘A Rugrats Chanukah’ was a staple in ’90s TV, and its telling is heartfelt and totally magical.
Even Stevens: ‘Heck of a Hanukkah’
And now, for the closest thing we’ve ever had to a Jewish version of A Christmas Carol. In the Hanukkah episode of Even Stevens, Louis accidentally breaks his family’s Hanukkah presents and promptly wishes he had never been born. A godmother-like figure appears and shows him just what that would look like.
The O.C.: ‘The Best Chrismukkah Ever’
Families have been celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah for years, but in one of the series’ most memorable episodes, The O.C. really put the hybrid term “Chrismukkah” on the map. There were candy canes. There were menorahs. There were stockings. There were latkes. There were even Yamaclauses (Santa hats in the shape of yarmulkes). In the immortal words of Seth Cohen, “Chrismukkah is un-ruinable. It’s got twice the resistance of any normal holiday.”
SNL’s Hanukkah Bonanza