Menorah (traditional Candelabra), donut and wooden dreidel (spinning top)

Menorah (traditional Candelabra), donut and wooden dreidel (spinning top) ()

Everyone is familiar with Christmas classics such as “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “A Christmas Story” and the several versions of “Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” as well as modern classics such as “Elf” and “Bad Santa,” but for those who celebrate Hannukah or just want to learn more about the holiday, there are specials out there for them too. (Specials are listed in no particular order, except for the first two, which are my favorites).

“A Rugrats Chanukah” from the television show, “Rugrats” (Originally aired December 1996)

This one makes the top of my list because it was the first place outside of school where I really learned about the holiday. This family-friendly adventure tells the story of Hannukah but uses your favorite babies as the characters and uses age-appropriate language and story-telling techniques for children to understand. This episode was also “groundbreaking” during its original airing for Nickelodeon to make an episode for such a small percentage of its target audience, according to Nonetheless, “A Maccababy’s gotta do what a Maccababy’s gotta do.” Depending on your location, you can watch “A Rugrats Chanukah” on Paramount+ or Hulu.

“Chrismukkah” episodes from the television show, “The OC” (Originally aired December 2003- December 2006)

Teenage (and grown adult) me loved watching the high-stakes dramatic antics of Ryan, Seth and the gang on “The OC.” However, every year, the drama was slightly dampened to introduce and celebrate the fusion holiday of “Chrismukkah.” Seth Cohen is half-Jewish and revels in this celebration he designed for his culturally blended family. Parents may want to watch these episodes before watching with kids because the show contains adult language and situations. You can watch the “Chrismukkah” episodes on HBO Max and Hulu.

“Heck of a Hannukah” from the television show, “Even Stevens” (Originally aired December 2000)

This Disney Channel comedy entertained viewers with the antics of middle-schooler, Louis Stevens, being impatient while waiting for his eight days of gifts. He takes his presents from their hiding spot, opens them and shenanigans follow. Families will love the comedy and heartfelt lessons shared in this episode. You can watch “Heck of a Hannukah” on Disney+.

"The Chanukah Song" from the television show, “Saturday Night Live” (Originally aired December 1994)

You cannot talk about Hannukah specials without talking about this classic song written by Adam Sandler and fellow SNL writers. The song has been updated several times to contain more timely pop culture references. Parents will want to review the lyrics before listening, but kids probably won’t understand any of the 1990s celebrity references Sandler makes. You can find the different versions of this song on YouTube and Spotify and watch “Saturday Night Live” on Peacock.

“Festival of Lights,” from the television show, “Elena of Avalor” (Originally aired December 2019)

Younger kids will love this Hannukah-centered adventure featuring Disney’s first Jewish princess, Rebecca. Elena and Rebecca have to recover the holiday menorah from the washed-up cargo from a wrecked ship and, along the way, the audience learns more about the holiday as well as Jewish holiday foods. You can watch “Festival of Lights” on Disney+.

Kyle’s Hannukah-based songs from the television show, “South Park” (Originally aired December 1997 and December 1999).

South Park doesn’t dedicate full episodes to the holiday, but rather, has Kyle Broflovski provide a child’s perspective of being from the only Jewish family in town during the holidays with his songs. Parents may want to listen to these songs before listening with your children. While the boys of South Park might be eight years old, their language and actions don’t act like it. You can listen to the songs on Spotify and YouTube and watch Kyle’s Hannukah-based songs on HBO Max and Paramount +.

“Full Court Miracle” (Originally aired November 2003)

The “based on a true story” Disney Channel Movie follows the story the main character, Alex Schlotsky, who believes that Lamont Carr, a former professional basketball player, is the ghost of Judah Maccabee, brought to them to teach them to be better players. Families will enjoy this blending of basketball and Hannukah. You can watch “Full Court Miracle” on Disney+.

“The One with the Holiday Armadillo” from the television show, “Friends” (Originally aired December 2000)

Before “Friends” gave up on including Ross’ son Ben in the overall plot of the show, he makes one of his last appearances in this episode where Ross tries to get Ben excited about the Jewish holiday. Ben is obsessed with Santa and Ross gets creative by introducing “the Holiday Armadillo.” Parents may want to watch the episode before watching with younger children. Depending on your location, you can watch “Friends” on HBO Max or Netflix.

“A Christmas Story,” from the television show, “The Goldbergs” (Originally aired December 2015)

Beverly is inspired by her family’s lack of excitement over the holidays to create a new holiday, “Super Hannukah.” Hilarity ensues as Beverly’s new traditions such as “the Hannukah Bush” mirror Christmas too much. Depending on location you can watch “A Christmas Story” on Hulu, Disney+, or fuboTV.

“Adam Sander’s Eight Crazy Nights” (Premiered in theaters November 2002)

This adult-oriented animated feature follows the life of thirty-something Davey Stone who is sentenced to community service and learns some life lessons over Hannukah season. You can buy or rent the movie from iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Prime or VUDU.

These are just a few of the Hannukah specials out there. Did your favorite make the list? Hannukah is from December 7 through December 15, 2023.

author picture
Tamala Malerk is a writer and editor with Stars and Stripes Europe. She has been with SSE since April 2022 writing articles all about travel, lifestyle, community news, military life and more. In May 2022, she earned her Ph.D. in History and promises it is much more relevant to this job than one might think.

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