On The Eighth Day of Hanukkah Your Bubbe Gave You Socks

The first night of Hanukkah is over. I hope you lit the menorah with loved ones and had too much fun singing “le-had-lik ner shel…HAAAA-NUUU-KKAAH” for the first time this year. But what does it mean now that one night is down, with seven to go?

I have a secret to tell you about Hanukkah. As a kid, I remember my friends freaking out about how unfair the holiday seemed. Maybe you were one of these kids. Maybe you were someone who couldn’t believe that Jewish kids had enough presents to last for eight days.

I’m not sure what other Jewish kids did when confronted with this situation, but I know what I did: I lied. “Why, yes,” I would say. “On the first day I got my very own Motorola RAZR and on the last day I got some pearls, la la la.” Then I would swing my Claire’s string of pearls over my shoulder and walk down the middle school hallway into a mysterious ether, leaving the haters behind.

I’m sorry, everyone who I fooled. This was a lie and I will ask G-d for forgiveness during Yom Kippur. In fact, I think all Jews need to come clean about what we really get for Hanukkah. Luckily, I have compiled eight charts for your reference.

Day One: Drake Hanukkah card, Strawberry Sufganiyot, Rainbow Latkes


Drake my breath away. This is Jewphoria. Day one of Hanukkah should feel like this, as if every one of your dreams is handed to you on a latke-filled platter. Memorable day one gifts of my past include: a bike with glitter streamers, a polaroid camera with endless film packs, a furby, etc.

Day Two: Hanukkah Dressy Cats Craft, Martha Stewart Latkes, Assorted Hanukkah Cookies


The second day is when your really crafty aunt gives you a fun Hanukkah paint-by-numbers and serves latkes on fine china. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to decorate your own dreidel at Hebrew school. One year for this day I got Mary Kate and Ashley dolls. Not bad, Aunt Vicki.

Day Three: Vegan Latkes, Vegetables in the shape of a Menorah, Gelt


Day three is like day one if you’re vegan. Bubbe has to monitor her blood pressure now and recently went Paleo, so she’ll make you something that she’s really proud of from whittled vegetables. Naturally, you break out the dreidel and gorge on gelt with your siblings.

Day Four: Beer Menorah, Half Eaten Gelt, Perfect Crispy Latkes


So you’re out of Manischewitz. Or you’re in college and you have to get creative with the menorah. Maybe you invite non-Jew friends over and they steal all your gelt so you have to gamble with alcohol. Either way, you’re drunk, and you’re gonna need those leftover latkes tomorrow morning.

Day Five: Hanukkah Bento Box, Dancing Cat in Kippah Sticker, Dog and Dissatisfied Cat with a Menorah Card


Hanukkah is halfway over and this cat is not chill about it. From here on out, get ready to open up grab bags filled with any Hanukkah themed item that your relatives can find on the internet. Honestly, if I made a Holigay Gift Guide, it would probably just be a million of these “Dancing Kitty with Kippah” stickers which, and I really want to emphasize this, exist so much that you can actually buy them on the internet.

Day Six: Menorah Socks, Hanukkah Harry Sweater, Burnt Latkes


Happy Hanukkah, here’s an Amish man on a sweater and some socks. Also we ran out of oil and the latkes are burned, so everything you know about this holiday is a lie.

Day Seven: Hashbrowns, Hand Menorah, Popsicle Stick Star of David


Hash browns have been going through a hard time lately and no one has told them that they’re not latkes. Fun fact: I remember reading in the Talmud that this day is traditionally saved for nightmares filled with crafts from Jewish preschool days.

Day Eight: Hanukkah Harry Candy Canes

yes but can you wear a box on your hat, santy claus?

This is all you get.

Now that the secret’s out, we can all come clean. What were some of your favorite gifts or some of your really awful gifts from past Hanukkahs?

Cecelia is a playwright and student living in Houston. She is most passionate about writing and watching the honest queer experience in film, television or theatre. She also finds herself to be very moved emotionally by zines, squirrels and emojis. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @zo0mbini.

Cecelia has written 24 articles for us.


  1. Oh hey fellow AS Hanukkah-celebrators! I celebrated Hanukkah this year with a really great party. I really enjoy hosting my friends. And I cooked 96 latkes.

    I could really do with the commercializations of Hanukkah! I wasn’t able to find dreidels or Hanukkah candles in a physical store for love or money. Instead I’m paring down the bases of Shabbos candles to fit them in my menorah. That’s safe, right?

  2. Gift giving is EXHAUSTING. So this year, my sister and I went together to Mountain Equipment Co-Op, and basically just used the holiday as an excuse to treat ourselves to something we might not otherwise have bought, and then we each paid for the other’s gift. Much less stress. My sister bought me a yoga mat, so that when it’s cold and snowing all winter I can still work out, and I bought her a pair of cross-country skiing pants (because apparently those are different from regular work out pants or from regular skiing pants, but whatever, that’s what she wanted).

    And then last night, sh invited me over while her and her roommate made 4 different kinds of latkes. So far, Hannukah’s been pretty great!

  3. Hello Autostraddle Chanukah-ers! I made a super exciting trip into the Chasidic area near where I live to buy Chanukah candles, and I was a bit nervous about being a clearly-not-Chassidic-person in the really frum shop, but although I got lots of side-eye at my short hair, the woman at the cash register gave me a smile. So that was a success.

    I’m not hugely into presents at Chanukah, because it’s just a follow-on from Christmas presents, plus commercialisation and all that jazz. I like this post on the topic (which also has good ideas for present alternatives if you have kids). http://www.outoftheorthobox.com/2013/11/chanu-scrooge.html

  4. umm hold up you get popsicle stick stars of david?? i haven’t gotten Chanukah presents since i was in grade school.

    but in fairness, i always get a card from my mom, and sometimes flowers. nothing says ‘festival of lights’ like highly combustible decorative foliage.

  5. Never been a part of Hanukkah, but I have a distinct memory of watching popsicle stick star of David getting made and a hand menorah. In 1st grade class and a girl scouts thing respectively.
    And that star was not as dry as I thought it was, it stained like a blue razberry jolly rancher. Sorry cute fluffy haired girl whose name I don’t remember.

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