Get ready for the 8 days of Chrismukkah

Retailers rejoice as Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same day this year

Renee Ghert-Zand is a reporter and feature writer for The Times of Israel.

Chaimie (Jamie Elman) and Laizer (Eli Batalion) of YidLife Crisis in  'Crisismukkah' episode. (YouTube screen shot)
Chaimie (Jamie Elman) and Laizer (Eli Batalion) of YidLife Crisis in 'Crisismukkah' episode. (YouTube screen shot)

Oy deer! The first day of Hanukkah and Christmas coincide this year.

The opportunity for everyone—and not just families with both Jewish and Christian members — to mark Chrismukkah doesn’t come very often. In fact, this year’s calendar overlap is the first since 2005, and only the fifth in the last 111 years. So it’s obviously a cause for celebration — or more importantly, merchandising.

From ugly sweaters to cookie cutters to greeting cards, this year’s holiday swag is all about mashing up menorahs with mistletoe, and jelly donuts with jingle bells.

The best part is that you don’t even have to leave your home to get into the Chrismukkah spirit. Just about everything you’ll need to syncretize your holiday season is available online.

But to put yourself into the right frame of mind for all the necessary shopping, listen to “The YidLife Crisis Guide to the Holiday Classics,” featuring 20 timeless favorites such as “Yingl Belz,” “Little Drummer Boychik,” and a selection of Hanukkah songs for caroling. However, as you’ll discover from YidLife Crisis creators Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion’s latest clever video, this album is unfortunately not available for purchase… no matter how much you kvetch.

The fake album is just fun shtick leading up to the real pitch: The guys want us to make a donation and buy some of their merch (2017 YidLife Crisis wall calendar, anyone?) to support their work. It’s a bit of a bait and switch, but that’s okay. ‘Tis the season for charitable giving, including to struggling talented Yiddish-speaking millennials.

Now for some essential tips for putting your Chrismukkah together:

The first thing you’ll want to do is order some holiday greeting cards to send to friends and family. We like the “Fa La La La Latke!” ones from ThePaperPonyCo we found on Etsy.

Holiday decor is key to making things festive. Hang a “Merry Chrismukkah” banner from your mantle. Or maybe some blue and white “Happy Hanukkah” stockings:

Hanukkah stockings. (Rebecca Shimoni Stoil)
Hanukkah stockings. (Rebecca Shimoni Stoil)

And if you choose to have a holiday tree like Jewish actress Natalie Portman, you can hang an ornament with a Santa hat adorning a menorah. Or top the tree with a stained glass Star of David.

Of course, you’ll need gifts to put under your Christmas tree/Hanukkah bush. However, if you take Jewish parenting expert Marjorie Ingall‘s advice, those won’t include the new picture book, “Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf.” In a review for Tablet, Ingall warns that this story, about one of Santa’s helpers learning about Hanukkah traditions, takes the wrong approach to teaching young kids about the holidays — even in a rare Chrismukkah year.

As always, you should make a statement with what you wear. Nothing signals Chrismukkah style more than a red and white Yamaclaus kippah atop your head. You may think you rock that “Happy Chrismukkah” ugly sweater, but be forewarned that some of those sweaters feature a design with the wrong number of branches on the menorah.

Oy Deer Menorah by Alef Objects (Alef Objects)
Oy Deer Menorah by Alef Objects (Alef Objects)

How hard can it be to correctly count the branches? Even the “Jewdolph Knit Koozie” for keeping your beer cold (or is it warm?) has the right number.

For something classier combining reindeer with the correct number of candles, opt for the Oy Deer menorah from Alef Objects, created by brother-sister design team Avraham and Shifra Cornfeld, who grew up in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Speaking of family, what Jewish one would celebrate Chrismukkah without lots of good food? There’s no limit to the seasonal flavor combinations culinary mavens are coming up with. The What Jew Wanna Eat blog has recipes for eggnog sufganiyot and eggnog fruitcake challah. Buzzfeed posted “23 Foods That’ll Make You Want To Celebrate Chrismukkah,” including gingerbread and cookie butter rugelach, Coca-Cola brisket sliders, and Mexican chocolate latkes.

For those worried about the possibility of eating treyf on Chrismukkah, Toronto Jewish deli owner Zane Caplansky has a solution. When it comes to bacon, the deliman suggests people wear it instead of eat it. Just in time for Christmas and Hanukkah, he’s announced a new line of custom Caplansky’s bacon high-top sneakers. In a generous, but unkosher, gesture, he’s giving a limited number of pairs away in a pre-holiday special offer.

It should also be mentioned that retailers haven’t overlooked another fortunate coinciding of dates this holiday season, namely that the final night of Hanukkah falls on New Year’s Eve. There’s no snappy portmanteau for Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff vendors are hawking to mark the occasion.

Fancy a “Merry Jew Year’s Eve-ukkah” challah cover?

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