Hanukkah Harry is a fictional character created for the long-running American comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live. He is jokingly presented in the program as playing the same role in the celebration of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah that Santa Claus plays in the celebration of the Christian Christmas.
The first appearance of the character was in a Saturday Night Live sketch called "The Night Hanukkah Harry Saved Christmas" that was initially broadcast on December 16, 1989. He was played by the Jewish actor Jon Lovitz. Hanukkah Harry, as depicted in the sketch, is an old man with a white beard who lives on the top of Mount Sinai (where Moses received the Ten Commandments). He travels through the air in a flying cart pulled by three donkeys named Moische, Herschel and Schlomo and wears a costume of blue and white (colors long associated with Judaism and featured on the Israeli flag).
Jon Lovitz played Hanukkah Harry a second time in a sketch called "The Night Hanukkah Harry Saved Easter", first shown on April 14, 1990. In the sketch, Hanukkah Harry explains that he only has special powers during the eight nights of Hanukkah and he has to ask the Prophet Elijah, who has similar powers during Passover, for help.
Although the idea of Hanukkah Harry as a Hanukkah gift-giver is currently neither taken seriously by many Jewish children nor encouraged by their parents, the character has begun to enter the wider popular culture. Some commercial websites offer blue and white Santa Claus outfits for sale as "Hanukkah Harry" costumes.
A song called "I Saw Hanukkah Harry Beat Up Santa", written by Hal L. Singer and Georgeanna Barry-Singer, has been recorded. The Hanukkah Harry described in the song differs somewhat from the one depicted in the Saturday Night Live sketches. He is described as having a black beard and it is said that he travels around the world in a flying Cadillac. The song also states that Hanukkah Harry is Santa Claus' brother.
A children's book called When Santa Claus Met Hanukkah Harry (ISBN 149220983X), written by Theresa Weber Corasis, was published in 2014. A children's book called The Legend of Hanukkah Harry: Book One (ISBN 1541241657), written by Rabbi Ben Newman, was published in 2016.