NEW YORK (AP) — These are a few of Chicky Winkleman’s favorite Hanukkah things: ironic, ugly sweaters adorned with Stars of David, his roommate’s Christmas tree and making latkes, alone in the afternoon.
The vegetarian living in Burlington, Vt., knows of what he speaks when it comes to marking the eight-day holiday, hipster style. He’s co-founder with older brother Duckie of hipsterjew.com, which ran a make-your-own menorah contest last year and enjoys about 50,000 page views a month, presumably among like-minded young Jews.
The problem with hipster Hanukkah, said Winkleman, whose given name is Charles, is once you identify out loud as a hipster, you’ve likely lost the descriptor for life. But the preschool teacher who dabbles in standup comedy sees a variety of differences between regular Hanukkah and a hipster’s touch.
On food: “There are latkes but it’s usually never with people. I’m usually alone making latkes one day. It’s a little depressing, but it has to be to get the true hipster Jew Hanukkah experience. It’s gotta be a little bit lonely.”
On the emerging tradition of ugly Hanukkah sweaters (see Geltfiend.com): “The sweaters are a way for us to get involved with the whole Christmas celebration but still separate ourselves from it.” They come with Stars of David and menorahs inside brown circles that look like chocolate gelt.
On an idea his brother (real name Ari) is working on: “You know those big saint candles? He’s working on a Jewish version with Woody Allen and, I don’t know, maybe Barbra Streisand.”
Fedoras for yarmulkes, Fair Trade olive oil or candles via the wax of locally sourced bees — there are lots of ways to pull off a hipster’s Hanukkah, even if you’re not an active member of the tribe’s subset. Or a tribesman of any kind.