It’s the time of year when Christmas becomes ubiquitous. But we know you, dear Jewish readers, are looking for Hanukkah things to watch. So we decided to compile a list of every Hanukkah episode to consume this holiday season — and where to find them. There are 21 episodes on this list with varying degrees of Hanukkah plotlines (from the entire episode to just a subplot), on what feels like a bajillion streaming platforms.
In no particular order, here are the best (and only?) Hanukkah TV episodes you can stream:
1. “A Rugrats Chanukah”
Season 4, episode 1 of “Rugrats”
Aired December 4, 1996
We have to start this list with the definitive Hanukkah TV special: the Rugrats Hanukkah episode. There are a few plots going on in this episode: (1) Grandpa Boris and his frenemy Shlomo (they went to school in Russia together, duh) are in a synagogue play about Hanukkah. Shlomo got featured in the newspaper, Boris did not, and Boris is mad that Shlomo always upstages him; (2) Angelica wants to watch a Christmas special featuring her favorite doll Cynthia; and (3) the babies want to defeat the “Meany of Hanukkah” (a.k.a. Shlomo) after they hear how upset Boris is.
The episode weaves baby shenanigans in with the story of Hanukkah as the babies retell the tale of the Maccabees, blessing us with the line “A Maccababy’s gotta do what a maccababy’s gotta do!”
“A Rugrats Chanukah” is the blueprint for a special Hanukkah episode.
“Hack Into Broad City”
Aired December 3, 2018
Abbi and Ilana exchange Hanukkah presents in this delightful digital short that is an extension of their incredibly Jewy TV show, “Broad City.” (“Hack Into Broad City” is a web series that shows video chats between the two Jewish BFFs.) Ilana (Ilana Glazer) is decked out in Hanukkah pajamas, and Abbi (Abbi Jacobson) is in a cheerful holiday sweater. It’s only 2 minutes and 10 seconds. You can watch right here:
3. “The 23rd”
Season 1, episode 9 of “New Girl”
Aired December 13, 2011
We have many thoughts and feelings on Schmidt, the incredible Jewish character on “New Girl,” played by the incomparable Max Greenfield. However, our feelings always come back to a moment in the first season when Jess, Nick, Winston, and Schmidt are driving down “Candy Cane Lane.” Winston points out a menorah, Schmidt says, “Oh, a menorah…” (with a weird intonation), then the iconic line: “Judaism, son.”
It’s become our favorite gif and an instant TV-scene classic, making it one of our favorite Hanukkah episodes.
Can we also take a moment to appreciate how “New Girl” beautifully captures interfaith families?!
4. “Best Chrismukkah Ever”
Season 1, episode 13 of “The O.C.”
Aired December 3, 2003
Okay, so there are technically four Chrismukkah episodes — one in each season — but we’ll always have a special place in our heart for the OG O.C. Chrismukkah, when viewers were introduced to Seth Cohen’s (Adam Brody) holiday of Chrismukkah. Seth, who grew up with a Jewish dad and a Christian mom, decided to combine Hanukkah and Christmas.
“The O.C.” is currently streaming on Hulu. Here are links to all four Chrismukkah episodes:
Season 1, episode 13: “The Best Chrismukkah Ever”
Season 2, episode 6, “The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn’t”
Season 3, episode 10, “The Chrsmukkah Bar Mitz-vahkkah”
Season 4, episode 7, “The Chrismukk-huh?”
5. “The Hanukkah Story”
Season 6, episode 10 of “The Nanny”
Aired December 16, 1998
The plot, in sum: Fran is super excited to celebrate her first Hanukkah with her new husband, but Maxwell, C.C. and Grace decide to drive to Boston in a snowstorm, and Fran gets concerned when they don’t make it home in time.
Season 20, episode 7 of “Saturday Night Live”
Aired December 3, 1994
Why are we talking about when Roseanne hosted SNL in 1994? Well, well, well, our dear friends: this is the episode in which Adam Sandler played his “Chanukah Song” on Weekend Update, enshrining it in the Hanukkah TV canon.
The Jewish comedian has updated “The Chanukah Song” with new pop culture references four times, the latest of which he released in 2015. In 2019, here at Alma, we wrote and released an update.
7. “The One With the Holiday Armadillo”
Season 7, episode 10 of “Friends”
Aired December 14, 2000
How could we do a list of Hanukkah episodes without the Holiday Armadillo!? In this classic “Friends” episode, Ross’ son Ben is staying with him for the holidays. Ross is upset that Ben has only been exposed to Christmas traditions — so he invents the Holiday Armadillo to tell him all about Hanukkah.
8. “Heck of a Hanukkah”
Season 1, episode 15 of “Even Stevens”
Aired December 1, 2000
The episode begins with Louis (a baby-faced Shia LeBeouf) up to his usual shenanigans: Louis is looking for the family’s Hanukkah presents ahead of the holiday’s first night, but he accidentally throws all the presents out of a second-story window. Louis’ family gets angry enough to prompt him to wish he’d never been born. That’s how we end up with a Disney-fied, Jewish version of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
It’s extremely 2000 Disney and an important Hanukkah re-watch.
9. “My Mom, Greg’s Mom and Josh’s Sweet Dance Moves“
Season 1, episode 8 of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Aired November 30, 2015
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” blessed us with a nuanced, Jewish heroine, and also with the visual gag of Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) hanging up Hanukkah banners that spell the holiday three different ways:
The episode features Rebecca panic-prepping for a visit from her Jewish mom Naomi (played by an incredible Tovah Feldshuh) and swapping all the Christmas decorations in her house for Hanukkah ones. When Naomi shows up, she sings “Where’s the Bathroom,” a Jewish TV classic:
Season 4, episode 9 of “High Maintenance”
Aired April 3, 2020
“High Maintenance” is a fantastic TV show that tracks the stories of various New Yorkers who are all connected by one integral character: their weed guy. In the season 4 finale, the Guy’s niece is stuck in New York City because of an impending Nor’easter. They decide to “do a little Hanukkah thing. We’ll make latkes, we’ll make matzah ball soup…”
As Alma editor Molly Tolsky wrote when the episode aired, the episode featured “perhaps the most authentic conversation about young Jewish American life I’ve ever heard on a mainstream TV show.” And with the backdrop of Hanukkah? Say less.
There has been some excellent Jewish content to be found throughout “High Maintenance,” including an episode in season 2 called “Derech” that captures the lives of ex-Hasidic Jews in New York surprisingly well. The Hanukkah episode, however, is not to be missed.
Season 1, episode 3 of “Dash & Lily”
Aired November 10, 2020
“Dash & Lily” was a Christmas-themed rom-com series in which Lily (Midori Francis) and Dash (Austin Abrams) romance each other without meeting through the holidays in New York City. The third episode of the show features a secret Hanukkah show in the basement of a Jewish bakery.
Some Jewish highlights of the episode:
- The band Golem playing a punk Klezmer song in the background of the party
- The “Door Queen” Hanukkah party bouncer
- It’s a Hanukkah party!
However, on the whole, the episode fell a bit flat. As Xava De Cordova wrote on Alma when “Dash & Lily” aired, “In the show, queer Jewish culture becomes a place where a ‘normal’ girl can go to confront her fear of being weird, and maybe even learn that weird can be cool. It has no content or trajectory of its own. The characters who inhabit it add no nuance to the situation. They might have their own struggles with romance or Christmas, but in this world, those struggles would only distract from the focus. Their differences from Lily are primarily aesthetic.”
12. “Festival of Lights”
Season 3, episode 18 of “Elena of Avalor”
Aired December 6, 2020
A Jewish Disney princess who celebrates Hanukkah? Immediately obsessed. The plot: Rebeca of Galonia, her brother, Prince Ari, and her bubbe get stranded in Avalor over the Festival of Lights, so Elena sets out to help them celebrate Hanukkah.
As Alma Hernandez wrote in Alma, “As a proud Mexican American Jewish woman, I felt seen and a sense of belonging after hearing the news of Disney featuring a visiting princess from a Latino Jewish kingdom.”
Linda Buchwald also praised the episode on Kveller, “The best thing about this episode is that it’s not a Christmas episode with a Hanukkah b-plot — this is the only holiday this episode is about. It teaches kids words like ‘mitzvah’ and ‘nosh.’ Princess Rebeca is a relatable princess, especially when she says, ‘Fun fact about me. I’m never not ready for chocolate.’ This episode has been criticized for including too many Ashkenazi words and traditions when this is allegedly a Sephardic family — although even that distinction is up for debate. But there is still a lot to celebrate here, especially the timely message that Hanukkah is about making the most of what we have in tough situations.”
13. “A Christmas Story”
Season 3, episode 10 of “The Goldbergs”
Aired December 9, 2015
“We’re gonna make Hanukkah sizzle and pop,” Beverly Goldberg (Wendi McLendon-Covey) proclaims in this 2015 Hanukkah episode of the ABC sitcom. Beverly creates a “Super Hanukkah,” trying to get her family into a holiday spirit — with a Hanukkah bush, Hanukkah socks, and more Christmas-disguised-as-Hanukkah-things.
It’s a classic tale of Jewish American assimilation for the holidays: the tension between wanting to be festive for the holidays and stay true to Hanukkah.
There’s another Hanukkah episode of “The Goldbergs,” “Han Ukkah Solo,” that aired a year later, which isn’t as Hanukkah-y.
14. “Xtreme Xmas”
Season 2, episode 20 of “Lizzie McGuire”
Aired December 6, 2002
Okay, so this is technically a Christmas episode with a Hanukkah subplot: Lizzie wants to win the Christmas float competition and enlists her Jewish pal Gordo. “Frankly, I’ve mastered making dreidels and lighting menorahs, and I’m looking for a new challenge,” is Gordo’s perspective on why he wants to help Lizzie with her float. There are also latkes.
This is more a Christmas episode than a Hanukkah one, but we just love Gordo so much we had to include.
15. “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas”
Special episode of “Arthur”
Aired November 23, 2000
In this special, we get all the major winter holidays — Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza. As it was advertised: “Everyone’s favorite aardvark gives kids a new spin on seasonal traditions in his first one-hour prime time special, showing children many ways to celebrate ‘the holidays.'”
Per the Arthur wiki (it exists), this is the Hanukkah plot:
The timing of Francine’s family’s celebration of Hanukkah conflicts with that of Muffy’s “holiday extravaganza,” causing her to miss the party. When Muffy explains that Hanukkah isn’t as important as Christmas, Francine feels offended because she is Jewish, and yells “Well it is to me!” and stops speaking to her and calling her. Eventually, she and Muffy make up after Francine shows her how important Hanukkah can be; all because her family is Jewish.
Here’s a clip:
(We’re counting this as TV, not a movie, because it aired on TV as a special of a TV show.)
16. “Merry Christmas, Johnny Rose”
Season 4, episode 13 (holiday special) of “Schitt’s Creek”
Aired December 19, 2018
At the start of the “Schitt’s Creek” holiday special, Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) walks into the shared bedroom of his kids, David (Dan Levy) and Alexis (Annie Murphy), and declares he wants to throw a Christmas party like they used to.
“We have to make new memories! We have to start looking forward, not backward,” he tells his annoyed family. He delegates tasks, enthusiastic even though it’s already Christmas Eve. Moira (Catherine O’Hara) replies, “Look at you, Mr. Rose. Seemingly possessed by the Christmas spirit.”
His response? “That reminds me! Somebody needs to find the menorah.”
“Schitt’s Creek” also blessed us with this iconic David line: “I’m a delightful half-half situation, which is why it’s so annoying my dad thinks he can boss people around on a holiday that he technically has no authority over.”
17. “The 8 Defensive Points of Hanukkah”
Season 5, episode 13 of “The League”
Aired November 20, 2013
“The League” is a comedy show about a fantasy football league starring, among others, Jewish actor Nick Kroll as Jewish lawyer Rodney Ruxin. Rodney describes himself as “a Nazi propaganda cartoon of a Jew,” to give you a sense of the show.
The plot features Ruxin wanting to prove Hanukkah’s superiority over Christmas. The ending features Rafi calling Jenny’s win a Hanukkah miracle. This wins the best Hanukkah episode title on this list, tbh.
18. “A Very Big Mouth Christmas”
Season 5, episode 8 of “Big Mouth”
Aired November 5, 2021
Another Nick Kroll show! This “Big Mouth” episode is made up of different vignettes hosted by puppet versions of the hormone monsters, and there is obviously a Hanukkah one. Andrew (John Mulaney) wishes he weren’t Jewish, but then dreams that his family is not Jewish and he hates it.
Big Mouth is the animated show about puberty and masturbation you didn’t realize you needed. Set in Westchester, New York and based on the childhoods of Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, the show has a distinctly Jewish sensibility. We’re grateful we got a long-awaited Hanukkah bit. (And still obsessed with the Passover episode in season three.)
19. “Glee, Actually”
Season 4, episode 10 of “Glee”
Aired December 10, 2012
In the episode, “Glee, Actually,” Jewish half-brothers Jake and Noah Puckerman sing “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” At the end of their performance, both brothers get Star of David tattoos on their left shoulder.
Yes, there was a Hanukkah song on “Glee,” we just feel like you need to remember this:
(Was “Glee” Jewish? Discuss.)
20. “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz”
Season 6, episode 10 of “Frasier”
Aired December 17, 1998
“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Moskowitz” is an entire episode dedicated to the gag of the whole Crane family pretending to be Jewish on Christmas Eve.
It begins when Frasier is shopping for a menorah for his son, Freddy, and a Jewish mom spots him and sets him up on a blind date. Not exactly a Hanukkah episode, but the menorah does spark the whole thing — so we’re counting it.
21. “The Strike”
Season 9, episode 10 of “Seinfeld”
Aired December 18, 1997
This is the “Seinfeld” episode best known for the Festivus plot and a strike at H&H Bagels, which honestly feeeeels super Jewish to us.
But what makes it a Hanukkah episode? It begins with Elaine, Jerry and George at a Hanukkah party.
“This place is like Studio 54 with a menorah,” Elaine complains. It’s a classic — replete with Elaine giving out her fake number.