"Heck of a Hanukkah" is the fifteenth episode of the first season of the Disney Channel original sitcom Even Stevens. It was written by Dennis Rinsler, directed by Neal Israel, and aired on December 1, 2000. While the episode is primarily the series Hanukkah special, technically it qualifies as both the series Hanukkah and Christmas special, since the Stevens family are of mixed religious heritage.
Hanukkah and Christmas are both coming to the Stevens family, but Louis is too anxious to know where his presents are. He's so anxious that he rummages through a crawl space in Ren's closet, and wrecks both her room, and Donnie's room trying to escape. While the rest of the family are paying attention to Eileen re-telling the origins of Hanukkah, Louis sneaks through the kitchen with the gifts. Louis opens up all his gifts under his bedsheet, until his parents call him from downstairs and announce that they're coming to visit. Having no room in his closet to hide his unopened gifts, Louis wraps them in a bedsheet and hangs them out the window, where they expectedly crash onto the front porch. Immediately the rest of the family finds out about it, and Eileen and Steve ground him for Hanukkah.
Louis thinks his family would be better off if he weren't born and if instead they had someone perfect like the rest of the family. Suddenly his great-great-great-great-grandmother Bubbie Rose (Donna Pescow in a dual role) visits him and shows him a world where this is so. As you can probably guess, the episode is a re-write of the Frank Capra classic tale It's a Wonderful Life. Bubbie Rose flies him through the sky and lands on a lawn gnome in front of the Stevens family household. Bubbie insists that since he wished he was never born, he can't be seen or heard by mortals. She also drags him through the door. Louis finds that they have another son in his place named Curtis (Christopher Marquette), who's a genius but a pampered arrogant brat. The whole family revolves around him, and they're miserable. Ren is a wild girl, with a messy bedroom and biker boyfriend named "Spider." Donnie while still a dim bulb, lives on the legacy of an old spelling award from the first grade, rather than his athletic abilities.
Ren is on the verge of sneaking out with Spider, when Donnie comes in to her room seeking comfort. Ren decides to postpone her date with her boyfriend, then Curtis comes in the room to scold both of them for making noise while he's studying. Unlike George Bailey, Bubbie Rose gives Louis a chance to be seen with a kiss on the cheek, and he suddenly appears in Ren's bedroom, which infuriates Curtis even more. Louis makes up a fake name and a lame cover story, claiming to be a foreign exchange student from Pennsylvania, but they accept him anyway.
Ren and Donnie come downstairs with him and announce that they're inviting Louis to stay over for the holidays. Ren also openly admits her frustration with Curtis. Louis offers to help with dinner, and almost drops the chicken on the floor. The rest of the family erupts in laughter, so he plays with the chicken and even takes it on a conga-line. The Stevens family seem happy for the first time in a long while, until Curtis plants the Hanukkah money in Louis' jacket in order to frame him for a non-existent theft. From there, the rest of the family turns against him, interrogates him, and threatens to turn him over to the police. He tries to call Bubbie Rose for help, but she's nowhere to be found.
Louis wakes up to find the whole incident to be a dream. The rest of the Stevens family surrounds him, announce that they have forgiven him, and allow him to join in the Hanukkah celebration after all. As the Stevens' are spinning a dreidel, Bubbie Rose walks in with the presents that were broken when Louis tried to hide them. Only to the family's surprise, they're all in tact. When the family asks how she put them back together, she disappears, only to blow a kiss at Louis from the kitchen window.
- This episode established the fact that the Stevens family is both of Jewish and some Christian heritage. Given that Donna Pescow is Jewish in real life, it's possible that the Stevens side of the family gets their Jewish heritage from Eileen (it is common for mixed religious families to have a Jewish matriarch; it's also possible that Eileen's maiden name is Hebrew) and that the Christian side of the family comes from patriarch, Steve.