Eight Crazy Nights: Being Jewish During Christmas Time and Celebrating Chanukah


Getty Images/iStockphoto

Candles lit for the eighth night of Hanukkah

This article is dedicated to my Jewish brothers and sisters out there who may feel the Gentile holiday of Christmas is taking over the holiday season and not letting Chanukah have its time to shine. This article is also dedicated to all of the other holidays that don’t get seen/observed a lot due to the popularity and commercialization of Christmas.

Christmas Time, the most popular time of the year. People setting up trees in the living room, festive music, cheesy and ugly sweaters, big red guys bringing presents to children, the smell of hot chocolate. making gingerbread houses, caroling, and romantic comedies/holiday movies, who wouldn’t do that? Well, a whole lot of people celebrate it because it is the happiest time of the year and you get gifts, but for others, it’s just another day. Even though I’m Jewish, we happen to celebrate Christmas because my father is Catholic. Long story short, even though we celebrate Christmas like millions of other people, it makes me feel lonely that I’m one of the few people I know who celebrate Chanukah.


For those of you goys who don’t know what Chanukah is, Chanukah is the Jewish holiday in which is celebrated to honor the re-dedication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt. The Israelites only had enough oil to last one day, but ended up lasting eight days. The menorah has spots for nine candles, with the middle candle being reserved for the shamash candle. The shamash candle, also known as the helper candle, is used to help light the other candles. Chanukah has so many spellings like Chanukah, Hanukkah, Channukka, Hannukkah, Hannukka, etc.


While everyone has tons of popular Christmas movies like “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and “A Christmas Story,” the only popular Chanukah movie is “Eight Crazy Nights” with Adam Sandler, but there’s one movie that always cheers me up year-round, even though it’s mainly a Chanukah movie, it fits year round, the 2003 movie “The Hebrew Hammer” starring Adam Goldberg, Judy Greer, Mario Van Peebles, and Andy Dick, directed by Jonathan Kesselman. I was watching it last night, and it still is a perfect movie. It has helped bring the thought that while there are so many gentile and goyish heroes in Christmas movies, there’s always going to be a hero in a Chanukah movie, Mordecai Jefferson Carver aka “The Hebrew Hammer.” Christmas has Santa Claus, we have Hanukkah Harry, a character played by Jewish comedian Jon Lovitz on “Saturday Night Live.”


As the holidays continue, I hear too much Christmas music, but yet, the only Chanukah music that people even associate with Chanukah is Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song,” while there’s so many other Chanukah songs like Tom Lehrer’s “(I’m Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica,” Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Light One Candle,” Don McLean’s “Dreidel,” Six13’s “Bohemian Chanukah,” Carole King’s “Chanukah Prayer,” and Sarah Silverman’s “Give the Jew Girl Toys.”


So in conclusion, Chanukah isn’t really as popular as Christmas, which saddens me deeply. Chanukah should be as popular as Christmas. It may feel lonely to be one of the few people in the school who celebrate “The Festival of Lights,” but it’s still a fun holiday. I have faced some backlash in my life for celebrating/preferring Chanukah over Christmas, but that still won’t keep me down. I’m not afraid to admit that I like lighting a menorah with my family. Chanukah has the same cultural impact that Christmas does, yet Christmas happens to be the more popular holiday. Playing the dreidel game, eating latkes, and lighting the menorah are just as awesome as opening gifts around a decorated tree. So if you ever feel like you’re the only one who lights the menorah with their family, just remember, there are many others who do the same. Chanukah Sameach to my fellow Jewish brothers and sisters!