Diana R. Wallach
It’s not every year you see a turkey-shaped menorah. In fact, this is the first time in 125 years that the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah has shared a date with the pilgrims, Native Americans, and turkeys that brought us Thanksgiving. And it won’t happen again for another 77,000 years. So bust out your creative latke and cranberry sauce recipes, make some challah stuffing, and reminisce about all those years you shared this holiday with a Christmas tree.
Because Hanukkah mash-ups are not new, especially not to pop culture moments, which is why we bring you Six Awesome Hanukkah Mash Ups From Books, Movies, TV Shows and More.
The O.C., The Best Chrismukkah Ever: While you may refuse to admit you were a fan of this post-90210 Orange-County based evening soap, you can give the show credit for the first-ever mention of the word, Chrismukkah. The show’s creator, Josh Schwartz, is said to have coined the term—and the holiday—in 2003 for his character Seth Cohen, the product of a Jewish-Christian household.
The show’s Chrismukkah episodes became instant classics and included traditions like eating Chinese takeout on Christmas Day while watching It’s a Wonderful Life followed by Fiddler on the Roof. As a Catholic married to a Jewish husband who’s raising an interfaith child, I thank Schwartz for giving us the phrase that graces our holiday cards every year.
Seinfeld, Festivus: What child of the ‘90s doesn’t remember learning about the Festivus Miracles in Seinfeld’s episode, The Strike? Created by George’s father, Frank, Festivus is a holiday to shun the commercialism of Christmas, and features a Festivus pole, feats of strength, and the airing of grievances.
I personally have attended several Festivus Celebrations that included the giving of the most bizarre Pollyanna gifts imaginable as a way to stub your nose at Santa. Thanks to Seinfeld creators, it will forever be a, “Festivus for the rest of us.”
Lemony Snicket, The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming, A Christmas Story: Oh, yes, I read this book to my two-year-old all throughout the holiday season. It’s a staple in our house and it features a latke who grows increasingly frustrated by Christmas decorations who don’t understand his purpose.
“So you’re basically hash browns,” said the flashing colored lights. “Maybe you can be served alongside the Chrstimas ham.”
“I’m not hash browns!” cried the latke. “I’m something completely different!”
He runs around town screaming quite a bit as he’s misunderstood by candy canes, Christmas trees, and the like in a comical story that could only be written by Lemony Snicket. If you know any interfaith family, be sure to add it to your Chrismukkah list.
Adam Sandler, The Hanukkah Song and Eight Crazy Nights: Sandler has done more to boost the coolness factor of Hanukkah than anyone else in the world ever, in my opinion. From his creation of a Hanukkah song listing Jewish celebrities (which now has three versions), to creating his own animated holiday special for “all the people who are Jewish, just like you and me.”
He’s the best at taking Christmas traditions and giving them a hysterical Jewish twist.
Hanukkah Harry Saves Christmas from David Benschlomo on Vimeo.
SNL, Hanukkah Harry Saves Christmas: This an oldie, but a goodie. The infamous Hanukkah Harry, played by Jon Lovitz, in his blue Santa Suit should really get the credit for mashing Hanukkah and Christmas.
From saving Christmas on a sleigh pulled by donkeys, Moische, Herschel and Schlomo, to delivering socks and slacks under a Christmas tree, it’s a Chrismukkah classic. I even have a few friends who have worn that blue Santa suit in holiday cards, proving you don’t have to have a baby to send a Shutterfly cards in December.
Friends, The One with the Holiday Armadillo: It’s not easy to convince an interfaith child that Hanukkah is as fun as Christmas, and this episode of Friends proves it when Ross’ son spends the holidays with him. He wants to teach his son about his mixed heritage and intends on renting a Santa suit, only none are left. So Ross invents Santa's Tex-Mex friend, the Holiday Armadillo, who tells the story of Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights. Hey, it’s not any weirder than Festivus, people.
Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of three young adult novels, Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books). In Fall 2013, she will publish Mirror, Mirror, a short-story trilogy based on the Narcissus myth (Buzz Books). She hold a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter. Follow Diana online: www.dianarodriguezwallach.com, @dianarwallach, or http://dianarwallach.tumblr.com.