Finding a list of favorite Christmas shows is as easy as finding your identical princess twin in a Hallmark movie. Looking for Hanukkah movies or TV episodes for kids is like trying to find an A-list actor in a Hallmark movie. As a 90s child, there was an episode of Rugrats that talked about Hanukkah. Then in 2002, Adam Sandler’s film Eight Crazy Nights came out and earned Sandler a Golden Raspberry nomination for “Worst Actor in a Film”. Fortunately, there are a lot more options for families celebrating Hanukkah who would like to see their holiday represented on the TV.
Full Court Miracle
This is my favorite Hanukkah movie to watch with the kids! A young Jewish boy, Alex, wants nothing more than for his terrible basketball team to win a tournament. They find a down on his luck former basketball player who is willing to coach them. The film takes place during Hanukkah, and creates a really simple allegory for kids about Juda Maccabee and the oil meant for one night, lasting for eight. Mix in a little Mighty Ducks style sports movie, and you’ve got a pretty good time!
An American Tail
While not exactly a Hanukkah movie, 1986 An American Tail follows a family of Russian, Jewish mice as they travel to America. They hope to find a land with no cats and roads made of cheese! The opening scene shows the family celebrating Hanukkah together. Most of us remember the rest of the movie as Fievel is separated from his family, and must sing sad songs until he finds them again. A lovely movie that still holds up with its great music and sweet story.
Love, Lights Hanukkah!
If you feel your kids must get their Hallmark fix, there actually is a Hallmark Hanukkah movie! The 2020 Hallmark movie tells the story of a young woman named Christina who finds out she’s half Jewish. She decides to reach out to her Jewish relatives and finds a family and, of course, a secret twin. Just kidding, it’s love, she finds love!
Rugrats Hanukkah Season 4 Episode 1
“Hanukkah is that special time of year, between Christmas and misgivings when all the bestest holiday shows are on TV!” The Rugrats Hanukkah episode features Tommy’s grandparents reading the story of Hanukkah. It is told in such a charming and classic Rugrats way! While Rugrats Passover episode is most remembered and (rightly) praised, their Hanukkah episode deserves just as much credit for it’s silliness and storytelling.
Elena of Avalor: Festival of Lights Season 3 Episode 18
I’ve had the theme song of this show stuck in my head for about three days. Feels only right that I give it some recognition for its Hanukkah episode. In this episode, Elena helps Princess Rebecca throw a Hanukkah party. The episode doesn’t feature any back story on Hanukkah. Elena doesn’t get on her flying jaguar (yes, a flying jaguar) to go help the Maccabees defend their temple. But we get a Jewish princess, classic Hanukkah imagery, and a new song to get stuck in your head for a few days!
Nina’s World: Nina Save Hanukkah Season 1 Episode 27
In this episode, Nina and her friends go on the hunt to find oil for their Hanukkah recipes and their menorah. It once again is a very simple story. They focus more on the symbols of Hanukkah then the actually history of the holiday. Which can be perfect for the little kids who mainly associate Hanukkah with presents and chocolate gelt!
I’m happy to say there are so many more Hanukkah themed TV episodes. I’ve not personally seen all of these but there is a great list below. Get the family together and enjoy some Hanukkah stories with your kids’ favorite characters!