Chanukah has gone to extremes in recent years.
In 2013 and 5774, the first day of the Festival of Lights fell on Thanksgiving, creating the once-in-a-lifetime observance of Thanksgivukkah.
Now, pushed as late in the secular year as possible by a leap month last spring, Chanukah is starting on Christmas Eve and ending on New Year’s Day.
And just as online Judaica store ModernTribe.com was on the cutting edge with Thanksgivukkah gear three years ago, so it’s ready with a full line of clothes and memorabilia to celebrate Chrismukkah and Jew Year’s Eve-ukkah.
“All the apparel is superpopular,” said Amy Kritzer, who bought ModernTribe from its Atlanta founder, Jennie Rivlin Roberts, during the summer. “People love a unique item they can’t get anywhere else.”
ModernTribe has a history of providing such items since getting its start with No-Limit Texas Dreidel, a poker-inspired dreidel variation invented by Rivlin Roberts and her family. Kritzer said the dreidel game remains popular.
The online store also is sold out of kosher chocolate Maccabees, perhaps inspired by a novelty Claus last year, when it was discovered that secret Santas were inside the Maccabee-decorated foil wrappers. This year, the chocolate inside was smooth and Santa-free.
But as was the case three years ago, the hot topic this fall is the holiday crossover, which has earned ModernTribe extra media attention, Kritzer said. “I think it’s a special year.”
One Chrismukkah item, a knit, one-size-fits-all Jewdolph reindeer koozie, has already sold out.
Most of the site’s wearable items marking the rare confluence of American celebrations are ModernTribe creations. You can get T-shirts or aprons wishing all a “Merry Jew Year’s Eve-ukkah,” with supporting slogans “Let’s Get Lit” (a reference to the nine candles we’ll light on New Year’s Eve to mark the last night of Chanukah) and “Jingle Sizzle Pop” (for the jingle of Christmas, the sizzle of Chanukah’s frying oil and the pop of New Year’s champagne corks).
Leggings, tote bags and tea towels/challah covers carry through the same themes with a black-and-gold color scheme.
Other Chanukah-Christmas crossovers on the site aren’t ModernTribe originals. Kritzer said she did a lot of research and had people contact her with suggestions to fill out the holiday product line.
Those items include:
- Chrismukkah cookie cutters — a reindeer with a menorah for antlers, a Christmas tree with a Jewish star on top and a gingerbread man spinning a dreidel.
- A colorful, certified-kosher gingerbread chanukiah.
- A T-shirt printed to look like the ultimate ugly Chrismukkah sweater.
- Kris Kringlestein, a blue-clad, 14-inch doll that dances and sings in “Yinglish.”
If the Mensch on a Bench isn’t enough to give you nightmares, Kris Kringlestein could do the trick, although Kritzer said, “I think he’s cute.”
All the fun does have a serious side. ModernTribe has partnered with OneTable.org, a nonprofit organization that helps bring young Jewish adults together around the Shabbat dinner table. Ten percent of the Merry Jew Year’s Eve-ukkah proceeds will go to OneTable.
Kritzer said her favorite Jew Year’s Eve-ukkah item probably is the apron “because I cook a lot”: She has a popular food blog, What Jew Wanna Eat, and a cookbook, “Sweet Noshings.”
She said she’s working on some special recipes for the end-of-year holiday week, adding Chanukah touches to the usual Chinese food she prepares for Christmas Eve and incorporating lucky New Year’s Eve items into her latkes plans, such as greens and a topping of black-eyed peas.