In the Ugly Sweater Era, holiday garishness extends beyond just clothing.
Tonight is the first night of Hanukkah. It also might be Christmas Eve or something. I can’t remember the last time these two holidays shared that designation. (It was probably, like, 2008 or something and I wasn’t paying attention.)
We’re now in the Ugly Sweater Era, the logical denouement of the ugly sweater trend. It went from “only your aunt who likes potpourri would wear one” to “hey, it would be funny if we all wore these to parties” to “there are now 20 different companies manufacturing ugly Christmas sweaters” to “this is standard, almost required, holiday apparel.” And in the Ugly Sweater Era, Christmas isn’t the only inspiration. There are ugly NBA team sweaters, ugly sweaters for non-winter holidays like Halloween, and, yes, ugly Hanukkah sweaters. My wife received two of them as gifts this year. Two! As if they’re meatball sandwiches.
But while sweaters have become all inclusive, does holiday garishness extend beyond that realm? Everywhere from Home Depot to a Cracker Barrel general store sells Christmas decorations and products that put the “tacky” in “oh my, that sure is tacky.” Does Hanukkah have any equivalents?
The answer — as shouted in large letters by the title of this list you’re reading, so no surprise reveal here — is yes. Although, essentially, at a proportional rate to its celebrants. If there are 100 people who celebrate Christmas for every one who celebrates Hanukkah, that same ratio applies to the quantity of goofy paraphernalia. I had to do a bit of digging. But this stuff is out there. Oh, it’s out there.
Here are 11 ridiculous Hanukkah decorations, products and tchotchkes on sale right now. (With express shipping, you can probably get them for at least three of the eight nights.)
1 | Dreidel Launcher
($3, Party City)
I push back against the notion that today’s kids are lazy (believe me, navigating the high seas of social media politics is far more complex than anything we ever had to do) — but an automatic dreidel launcher isn’t helping their case. I never knew I had the capacity to get curmudgeonly over manual versus machine assisted dreidel spinning, but here we are.
2 | Adult Dreidel Costume
It’s fitting that the Hey is in front, since wearing this costume decreases your chances of hooking up at the Matzo Ball by at least 50 percent.
3 | Hanukkah Glitter Head Bopper
I appreciate the festiveness, but I feel like there are plenty of places you could wear this and people would wonder if there really were alien dreidels growing from your head.
4 | Santa Dreidel
($4, Archie McPhee)
There aren’t too many products targeting “Christmukkah” — the target market is an awfully small subset of a subset — but I’m pretty sure that’s this dreidel’s intention. After all, it’s far more decorative than functional, since those letters on a standard dreidel actually mean something. The game literally only has four total rules, and this dreidel requires rewriting all of them.
5 | Chanukah Laser Lights
I’ve seen the ugly Christmas projection lights on sale everywhere this year… although I don’t believe I’ve seen them on a single house. (Notably, I don’t get out that much and my sample size of “houses viewed” is a bit low, so perhaps they’re more popular than I realize.) While these Hanukkah (or, as they spell it, Chanukah) ones aren’t any less tacky, they are less available — sold out on Amazon! — so that’s something.
6 | Happy Challah Days Leggings
Don’t mind the fact that challah has literally no connection to the holiday of Hanukkah other than both falling under the “well-known Jewish words with the chuh sound” umbrella. A good pun is a good pun, dammit.
7 | Hanukkah Nail Decals
($12, Midrash Manicures)
The candle ones would work particularly well for any nine-fingered ladies out there.
8 | Emoji Menorah
I love that the website where I found this is called “Traditions Jewish Gifts.” Nothing says “ancient Jewish tradition” like jamming candles into emoji heads.
9 | Plush Happy Chanukkah Menorah Hat
($25, Jewish Source)
My only wish is that they’d found a more stereotypical guy to model it.
10 | Gold and Silver Metallic Temporary Flash Tattoos
If you happen to be going to a music festival this week or just have Burning Man in your heart, why not make a holiday statement with a Hanukkah-themed flash tattoo? Just hope there’s no such thing as a Jewish flash cemetery.
11 | Hanukkah Fortune Cookies
($8, Oh! Nuts)
The fortune reads, “Sufganiyot, or jelly donuts, are a famous Chanukah treat in Israel.” Great fortune, dummies. On this, the eve of the biggest Jewish Chinese food day of the year, you’re going to try to sell non-fortune fortunes and think people won’t notice? To quote my dreidel launcher-using Millennial friends, I can’t even.