I grew up in upstate New York, a quick drive south of Albany. Despite being so close to a state capitol, which should at least pretend to look like a cultural hotbed, our local McDonald’s went out of business and, many abandoned years later, was turned into a bank.
Nonetheless, it was a fun place to live, especially around Christmas time, when the streets were lined with lights and trees could be seen through inviting windows. Except for my house, that is. My mom and I are Jewish, which made me a rarity at my school. I was one of about four students who killed Jesus, or something, and everything my classmates knew about the Chosen People was filtered through what I learned from “The Hanukkah Song” and “A Rugrats Chanukah.”
Which is why I’m very happy that someone uploaded the episode to YouTube, just in time for the Festival of Lights to begin. Does the special hold up as an adult? Nope, but it’s not supposed to — it’s an animated Sparknotes summary of the other December holiday (sorry Kwanzaa). And when I was in elementary school, it saved me a lot of time. Instead of having to half-accurately explain who the Maccabees were, I could just say, “Watch Rugrats, ya putz.”
And isn’t that the true meaning of Hanukkah?