The 18 Ugliest Hanukkah Sweaters on the Internet

Design+by+Evelyn+Frick%3B+background+image+via+Getty+Images%0A

Design by Evelyn Frick; background image via Getty Images

Jesse Plichta-Kellar, Alma.com

Ostensibly, one of the most interesting parts of living in the United States as a Jew is the “holiday season” and the inevitable deluge of Christmas merchandise. My childhood is a product of the early 2000s, so I remember a time before Hanukkah saw this treatment, but lo and behold, we too now can experience the most absurd of the December products.

My favorite of these is the rise of the Ugly Hanukkah Sweater, a cousin of the Ugly Christmas Sweater. As my contribution to the Jewish community this year, I’d like to present y’all with the 18 ugliest Hanukkah sweaters on the internet, officially ranked by my very scientific sweater emoji system. You’re welcome.

1. Oy To The World ($24.95)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweaters

To ~warm up~ let’s start with one that’s not that ugly, just looks like it was built using Microsoft paint in 2005 and indeed invokes an exclamation of “oy.”

At $24.95, at least it’s pretty affordable. This one is versatile in that while it does look like Eight Days Of Minecraft Blocks, it’s definitely still cute enough for an office holiday party, ugly sweater party or just hanging out on one of the eight nights.

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Out of five sweater emojis, I’m going to give it:
Design: 🧥🧥🧥🧥
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Wearability: 🧥🧥🧥🧥🧥

2. Happy Hanukkah Gin & Tonica ($17.95)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

This one is a similar level of oy to the last — in fact, one might say it is inspiring one to acquire a gin and tonic — but it’s not as wearable. The dreidels with faces are silly, not uncanny, and they aren’t gazing into your soul with a thousand-yard stare. I’m not sure how I feel about putting the Star of David between two giant X’s — something about that feels kind of off.

I do, however, love the implication that the dreidels are spinning themselves; they clearly have the reach to do it, and probably lack inhibitions after a drink bigger than they are. At under $20, it’s definitely a budget-friendly option, but less wearable than the first because of the giant bottle of alcohol.

Design: 🧥🧥🧥
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3. Funny Jewish Holiday I’m the Jewish Elf Sweatshirt ($8.50)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

I have, just, so many questions. Like, what makes an elf Jewish? The celebration of Hanukkah, presumably, given the dreidels, but there’s also Christmas trees in the sunglasses, so it’s an interfaith elf? The inclusion of “Merry Christmas” in the product photo would corroborate that. Is the implication that Jewish elves made it? I know that elves are part of the cultural folklore around Christmas, but do they think we also have elves as part of our collective cultural Hanukkah conscious? There’s also not much elf actually pictured — at minimum, we’re seeing the ears; at maximum, we’re seeing ears, eyes (behind the sunglasses), feet (behind the shoes), hands (behind the dreidels? Are they dreidels???) and top of head (under the hat with the star), which is still like 40% of the Jewish elf in question, max.

I could go on, but instead, I will admit that at $8.50, this is among the cheapest Hanukkah(ish) sweaters you’ll find, and I think you could get a pretty good range on where to wear it.

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4. Happy Challah Days ($23.95)

Ugly Hanukkah SweatersSo this does come in several colors, but I’ve decided to feature the red, as I think it clashes the hardest. There’s nothing offensive or that really raises great philosophical questions here; this is basically what I think of when I think of “ugly Hanukkah sweater” — palatable, punny and obviously the Jewish-symbols-version of so many Christmas sweaters. I do object in that I believe firmly that all days are challah-days (except Passover, Yom Kippur and other fasts!), but this is pretty wearable and affordable.

Design: 🧥🧥🧥🧥
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Wearability: 🧥🧥🧥🧥🧥

5. Too Lit To Quit Sweater ($64.95)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

At $64.95, this is pretty pricey, but it also lit-erally lights up, so there’s that. I have many questions about the mechanics of the situation (which the website does not elaborate on), but at least in theory, it gets into the spirit of the Festival of Lights. I actually kind of dig the design, but have to dock points for wearability because of the risk of having to explain “lit” in this context to coworkers or older family members (and the potential fire hazard).

Design: 🧥🧥🧥🧥🧥
Price: 🧥
Wearability: 🧥🧥🧥

6. 3D Photo-Realistic Ugly Christmas Sweater ($19.99)

Ugly Hanukkah SweaterI’m all for interfaith family representation (hi dad! Thanks for driving me to all the Jewish things as a kid!), and this sweater manages to be U-G-L-Y and ain’t got no alibi for two holidays! Full points on design for that, but docking some for wearability because this one is going to probably need a lot of explaining.

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7. Festified Men’s Chanukah is Funakah ($54.99)

Ugly Hanukkah SweaterWhat I enjoy about this one is that there really aren’t that many elements involved (see the repetition of the star and chai), but it still feels so crowded. I’m not entirely sure what those things are separating the stars (they look like tiny upside-down trees???), but this expensive eyesore is probably wearable to many an occasion.

Design: 🧥🧥🧥🧥
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Wearability: 🧥🧥🧥🧥🧥

8. Jewdolph Ugly Hanukkah Sweater ($15)

Ugly Hanukkah SweaterI could raise many of the same inquiries as I did with the “Jewish elf” shirt, but instead I’d like to focus on the fact that Rudolph, with his antlers as such, is not a kosher menorah — the candles that are not the shamash should all be the same height. I’d also like to note that the text looks like the output from a Galaga machine, which is fine, but that doesn’t really feel like Rudolph’s vibe. Despite these questions, this one is pretty wearable.

Design: 🧥🧥🧥🧥
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Wearability: 🧥🧥🧥🧥🧥

9. Light My Menorah Light Up Pullover Sweatshirt ($20.92)

Ugly Hanukkah Menorah

I know it wasn’t made in the ‘80s. And I wasn’t alive in the ‘80s. But this one feels very ‘80s. And maybe if you have a partner who’d find it cute, it’s cute, but this again falls into the “don’t want to explain this at an office holiday party” category. The “my” also looks like עכת‎ (ayin-kalph-taw) to me, which isn’t a word in Hebrew to my knowledge, but still weird that it the typeface looks that much like a whole other alphabet.

Design: 🧥🧥
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10. You Spin Me Right Round Baby Dreidel Hannukkah Sweater

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

This is very much in the same vein as the above sweater, but feels more wearable because it’s clearly a reference to a specific song and not exclusively a cheesy pick-up line. There’s a lot going on here, not the least of which is the sparkles on the dreidel and nowhere else.

Design: 🧥🧥🧥
Price: N/A
Wearability: 🧥🧥🧥🧥

11. Women’s Ugly Hanukkah Sweater ($49.95)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

The dreidels scream, and I scream with them. They stare in my soul, and I’m not sure if I want to stare back.

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12. Dalek Hanukkah Sweater ($23.99)

Ugly Hanukkah SweaterAs someone who was obsessed with Dr. Who her freshman and sophomore years of high school, I do think this is how Daleks would say celebrate and I totally would have loved it at 15. It does, however, look suspiciously like a Dalek Christmas tree sweater available on the same site and requires context that people who never watched the show just wouldn’t have.

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13. This Is How I Roll Dreidel Knit Style Sweatshirt ($39.99)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

This one there’s no ambiguity — Hebrew lettering was used for a bunch of the English letters (the most glaring examples being the shin in how and the I being a vav), which I find adds a uniquely Jewish twist to the aesthetic. What really got me on this one, however, is the texture of the dreidels. Is it snow? Glitter? Chunks of kosher salt? Rhinestones? Tiny shark teeth?

Admittedly quite wearable, although you’ll have folks staring trying to sort out the Hebrew letters.

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14. Citybarks [Ugly Sweater] Jewish Hanukkah ($39.95)

Hanukkah Sweaters UglyThis one is like Hanukkah Symbol Bingo. I think every piece of clipart related to the holiday was included, but it’s somehow less chaotic than many of the others we’ve covered. It is, however, ugly as advertised.

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15. Women’s Gelt Digger Hanukkah Sweater ($59.95)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweaters

Given the antisemitic canards around Jews and money, I’m not entirely comfortable with a Jewish sweater with a gold digger joke. I think it makes wearability much more questionable, particularly in the presence of gentiles. I also have questions about the Hebrew lettering — I can’t be the only one who finds it odd that the dreidel acronym is going backwards and forwards?

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16. Pandemmukkah ($34.95)

Ugly Hanukkah Sweater

Honestly, the sweater is not ugly — what’s ugly is the year(s) it reminds us of. It was originally made in 2020 and labeled a 2020 sweater — ah, the naivete. Maybe the dreidel can loan its mask to one of the screaming dreidels in #11.

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17. Unisex Holiday Schmear Sweater ($59.95)

Hanukkah Sweaters Ugly

I love bagels, and statistically, as an Alma reader, you probably do too. This sweater is a perversion of both bagels and Hanukkah — why are the spots without cream cheese so big and what makes the schmear holiday schmear (looks like regular schmear to me)? Why are there only gimels and hays on the dreidels — does this determine whether I get half a bagel or a full bagel?
There are more questions this raises, but the pun is fairly original.

Design: 🧥🧥🧥🧥
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18. Light Up Menorah Hanukkah Unisex Sweatshirt ($80)

Although I am haunted by the texture of the sweater and baffled as to where and how one would even wear it, I must admit it seems the most likely of the light-up sweaters I’ve seen to actually work. I can’t even imagine walking with this thing. The shedding this must produce. I don’t get why it’s so green in the picture. It probably makes for a fun photo shoot, but how am I even supposed to fold it?

Design: 🧥🧥🧥🧥🧥
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This is but a mere sampling of the ugly Hanukkah sweaters across the internet — if nothing else, we can have a warm and fuzzy 2021 holiday with designs just as tacky as our Christian neighbors.

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