I went into Target the other day to see if they had any yarmulkes (long story) and found one lone endcap on the side of the card section that held a very limited amount of Hanukkah paraphernalia. There was three-pack of plastic dreidels, a shoddy looking menorah and some blue paper goods because for some reason Hanukah's favorite color is blue. "This can't be it?" I pondered. I went to the back of the store, which, if you haven't been to a Target or any other store for that matter, has been transformed into Santa's freakin' workshop. Well, it would be Santa's workshop if Santa made a bunch of twinkly crap and fake plastic trees.
I searched around for a minute amongst the sea of red, green and gold, keeping an eye out for the faintest glimpse of silver or blue, the underdog holiday colors, but the closest I saw to anything remotely Hanukkah-related was a sale on no-bake parve brownies.
I stopped one of the sales associates and asked him where the Hanukkah section was, to which he responded, "sorry." Sorry that you don't have one or sorry that I bothered to ask? Or sorry that my people have this tradition?
Don't be sorry Mr. Target Associate; I also know that Hanukkah is a lame holiday. Hanukkah doesn't have good deserts, it doesn't have any claymation cartoons, Chevy Chase has not made a ridiculous Hanukkah movie and the standard gift for Jewish kids is multiple pairs of socks. It's cool; we Jews are well aware that our December present-related holiday pails in comparison to our North Pole counterpart. We have many other superior holidays such as Purim, which is a holiday based solely on being drunk because the Bible wants it that way.
No matter. Whether Hanukkah is a pointless holiday in which little Jewish kids get gifts so that they can compete with their Christian friends or not, it doesn't mean we can't have a good time with our celebration. I found eight awesome things on the Internet to help you light the menorah.
8. The Hipster Jew Blog's Annual Menorah Contest
I stumbled across this blog a few months ago and fell in love. It called to my every sensibility of self-deprecation and self-absorption. For the past few years, it has hosted a make-shift menorah contest where hipsters from near and far send photos of eight items in a row that may or may not hold candles. Search through your junk drawer and see what you can whip together and you can win some "hipster Jew crap," like a T-shirt or some irony.
7. Jewish Mets Mug
I don't even understand what would possess someone to think of this, but boy am I glad they did. This gift is about as straight forward as they come: it's a Hebrew Mets mug, as in the Metropolitans, as in the New York baseball team. For some reason Jews love the Mets, probably because they haven't done anything spectacular since 1986 and Jews are martyrs. According to the designer of the mugs: "IF YOU ARE A JEWISH METS FAN, YOU MUST HAVE ONE OF THESE HEBREW METS GIFTS!" That's a sales pitch if ever there was one.
6. Shalom Y'All: Images of Jewish Life in the American South
Shalom Y'all is a photography book that chronicles southern Jewish culture. According to the description,
"From Levy, Arkansas, to Kaplan, Louisiana, Southern Jewish culture is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line. In Shalom Y'all, award-winning photographer Bill Aron provides a vibrant portrait of contemporary Jewish life, dutifully recording the heroic, funny, and sometimes tragic experiences of a people who have long settled in the Bible Belt."
We need a little Southern Jewish culture up in this piece; we also need a Frito pie made out of matzos.
5. Schlep Tote Bag
You can never have too many totes and having one that says "schlep" in big black letters is a great way to show people you care about the environment and you are just like your old bubby at the same time. Now fill it up with macaroons and you'll be the life of the party.
4. South Park's Dreidel Song
"It's so amazing. I spin on the ground and it goes round and round," Eric Cartman says very sarcastically in theSouth Park
dreidel song. Leave it to Cartman to make fun of a dreidel singing round by insulting an entire religion and its traditions. I can't really argue with him though, dreidel is sort of a moronic pastime. It's a game that revolves around spinning a top and sharing a pile of pennies. Even if you win, who cares? It's like 30 cents.
3. Ugly Hanukkah Sweaters
Why should Christmas-loving hipsters and old men have all the fun in the ugly sweater department? Jews want to have ridiculous holiday sweater parties and awkward family photos too! There are quite a few sites on the Interwebs with Hanukkah sweaters but I am partial to Geltifiend.com that has had quite a lot of press lately due to its $200,000 Kickstarter campaign, which helped launch the company. The sweaters are described as "retro" and "fun" but really they are just ugly, which is what an ugly holiday sweater should be.
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I can't even put into words how wonderfully wrong this thing is. It's a bra made out of yarmulkes. Whoever thought of this brilliant idea should win some sort of award, and they should start a line at Victoria Secret. It's just like the Talmud always says, "Cover your boobs in order that the fear of heaven be upon you." Or something like that.
1. This Picture