The lead-up to Hanukkah may be my favorite time of year. Mostly because my number one way of celebrating is to spot the awkward decorative efforts to include Hanukkah in Christmas displays.
You know the type: it’s a tiny Star of David decal in shop windows or the special dreidel page in your kid’s coloring book. The other day, I went into my friend’s apartment and, below the Christmas tree in the lobby, there was a plastic menorah just, like, on the ground. Similar to your non-Jewish friend randomly messaging you “happy holidays” two weeks into December — it’s the kind of well-meaning gesture that inspires you to say, “Oh, that’s nice of them, I guess.”
Joking aside, I truly appreciate little blunders like these every year because, to me, Hanukkah, the holiday that honors candle oil that burned for eight nights instead of just one, is the perfect time to honor the magic of the bare minimum.
Enter: Google. The multinational technology company that we all know and are forced to love due to its arbitration of, well, information. Sure, not exactly the most festive way to see this search engine, but to celebrate Hanukkah, they actually did something kinda sweet (literally).
Often, for certain holidays and historical events, Google adds a colorful graphic to its home page, such as an animated “talk to Santa” feature that appears around Christmas. If you haven’t already noticed, when googling “Hanukkah” the site has added a small, blue menorah icon. If you click on it, a larger menorah pops up that you can “light” with your cursor. It’s a lovely addition to the bare-minimum Hanukkah aesthetic. But as this is The Nosher, I would like to direct your attention to the bottom of your screen.
Yes, the numbered search bar — the place you only end up when, somehow, the thing you are searching for is niche enough to not be on the first page. I know it’s confusing for me to send you here intentionally, but hear me out, because therein lies something that made my coworkers and I squeal with joy.
On the search bar, Google has replaced the multiple “o”s to represent the upcoming pages with tiny, adorable cartoon donuts. Yes, the deep-fried Hanukkah tradition that the majority of the general population doesn’t know about has been honored in beautiful code.
There’s a frosted pink guy, what looks like a classic jelly-filled sufganiyot, a chocolate donut, and a couple of other sweet delights that bring little tears to my eyes. Did it probably take someone at Google HQ 10 minutes to do this? Absolutely. But to see a part of yourself and your beloved foods and festivities honored in a way that millions of people can see is a whole lot more comforting than I expected.
So, google “Hanukkah” (or “Chanukah,” “Hanukkah,” “Januca,” etc.) sometime, and usher in the holiday season. I know you’re doing it anyway to find out what days Hanukkah actually falls on this year (info that Google also thoughtfully provides at the top of the search page). And, to all those businesses out there cobbling together your bare-minimum Hanukkah efforts, we appreciate you. Sufganiyot are too cool to go corporate, anyway.