Celebrating Hanukkah used to be a relatively straightforward affair: Once a year Jews would bust out the menorah and candles, prep their digestive tracts (and stretchy pants) for eight nights of eating deliciously greasy latkes and sufganiyot, play fierce games of dreidel, sing holiday songs, and hopefully get some gelt (in chocolate coin or cash form).
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All this to rejoice the Macabees’ defeat of the much larger Seleucid army, the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the miraculous one-day oil supply that lasted for eight days of menorah lighting.
In recent years, though, Hanukkah has joined the ranks of other holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas – meaning that marketing gods and inventors have found a way to promote it by selling all sorts of wacky products for people, their pets and their homes. We’re not sure that the ancient proverb “necessity is the mother of invention” applies to these eight creations, but they certainly add a different kind of brilliance to the Festival of Lights.
1. The menorah tree – Made of a precision-cut aluminum base and Frasier Pine garland, this artificial tree measures more than six feet tall, and resembles a menorah-Chia Pet hybrid. Our jaws dropped when we first laid eyes on it – and they’re still on the floor.
2. GeltFiend Hanukkah sweaters – “Ugly” sweaters have long existed for practically every holiday – and Hanukkah recently joined the club, too. GeltFiend founder Carin Agiman has said her sweaters are inspired by 1960’s designs, which she then “Jewed up.” Is it too much to hope that we see gefilte fish and shofar styles next year?
3. Menorah plush hat – This hat may be seriously over the top (pun intended), but one Amazon.com reviewer said that for “guys out there looking to meet their future Jewish Wife, throw the hat on at a party and wait for the ladies to stop by and say ‘Hi.’ No joke. Easier than JDate.” Can’t argue with that.
4. Dreidel hat for dogs – There’s a reason dogs are called “man’s best friend.” Wearing this hat is not it. Please be kind, and reward Fido with some extra latkes if you make him wear it.
5. Hanukkah nail decals – This miracle of manicures comes from a company called Midrash Manicures, which combines Jewish education and nail art so that women and young girls can “have the Torah at [their] fingertips.” Midrash offers decals for almost every Jewish holiday, along with Israel-related ones, but we’re kind of partial to the Ten Plagues version for Passover. (Seriously.)
6. Latke bibs for the little ones – These latke-adorned bibs are pretty cute. Hopefully the kids will just wipe their oily little fingers on them, not eat them for dinner.
7. Menorah glasses – Large chunky frames have been popular with hipsters and senior citizens for a couple of years now – and these frames, whose top rim is lined with nine candles – raise the trend to a whole new level. If you have blue eyes, these glasses are sure to accentuate them; but, be warned, if you have a latke-shaped face, they might accentuate that, too.
8. Dr. Dre Del card – Greetings from one of the leading Gangsta rappers/hip-hop producers in music history! This hilarious card from Silly Reggie is sure to light up Chronikkah, er, Hanukkah.