Another year-end is upon us, which means another chance for you to kvetch and moan about how the Festival of Lights is coming either “too early” or “too late” in the solar calendar year. Well, I got news for you, Bubbelas: I’m exactly when I’m supposed to be, which is right here, right now. Hey, #TBT to that year I coincided with Thanksgiving and you were all shredding sweet potatoes and making menorahs that looked like turkeys? Yeah, that was lit AF.
And that’s just how the dreidel falls when you’re a formerly irrelevant holiday that’s managed to climb its way to the top of the proverbial Hebrew calendar with nothing but a dream and some off-brand milk chocolate wrapped in gold foil. Just think of me as the Kylie Jenner of Jewish holidays.
All things being equal, my rise is #goals. In the order of significant Jewish holidays, I should be like, number eight, right behind the New Year of the Trees and Purim — a holiday in which children (1) dress up like characters from a totally messed-up story in which one of the heroes is an unwoke king who killed his wife when she refused to prance around naked in front of his bros, and (2) take home living goldfish in bags like they’re Halloween candy. And yet, you bitches are all totally obsessed with me.
Look, let me keep it 💯: Like Luke Wilson to his brother Owen, I hitched my sleigh to Christmas long ago and rode that thing all the way to starring in Old School. And I am never letting go, no matter how little sense it makes to pair together two holidays based solely on calendrical proximity. You don’t see Sukkot getting celebrated by half-hearted displays in department stores, do you? I. Didn’t. Think. So.
It’s too bad the great American composers couldn’t live their truth. Listen to any of those soaring Christmas songs written by my people. “White Christmas”? A freaking masterpiece of sentimentality. “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”? Can you say legend? A toe-tapping, hand-clapping bonafide bop. And what do I get stuck with? That unmelodic earworm “Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel.” That burns like a shamas candle on night one. Ouch, dudes.
I am Hanukkah and I am not ashamed to take over your home and hearth for eight days. That’s a whole week plus one day. Why? Because Hanukkah! Christmas literally wishes it could last that long.
Make some latkes and the smell of frying oil will seep into your clothes. And I’m not just talking about your KNISH ME, I’M JEWISH apron; I’m talking all the way deep into the recesses of your closet. That dress you’ve been hoping to fit into in time for New Year’s Eve at Linda Wasserman’s house, even though you know she only invited you after the Leibermans planned their trip to Disney World? Yeah, it smells like potato pancakes now. Sorry, not sorry!
Also, to truly celebrate me, you’ve got to come up with eight different presents PER PERSON. Oh, I’m sorry. Did you say you want to cheat and piece out that LEGO set over the week? Yeah, nice try, loser. I made one night’s worth of oil last for eight nights; so stretch out that paycheck, bro.
Hanukkah, Chanukah — it doesn’t matter how you spell me. I am here and I am GOAT. Maybe I’ll even open up my own Instagram museum and invade your feed with selfies of people climbing oversized menorahs and swimming in pools full of gelt. WE’LL SEE. Either way, I’m going to pop up all over your December calendar until the day you die. And as you lay there, thinking of the .02 percent of your life that you spent celebrating me, I hope you will hear in your ears: I had a little dreidel. I made it out of clay…
Happy Hanukkah, bitches!