Posted Saturday night, December 24, 2016.
This year, Hanukkah begins on the same day as Christmas is celebrated. https://t.co/bZRMpafxpZ— Smithsonian Magazine (@SmithsonianMag) December 24, 2016
My best friends in our neighborhood when I was growing up were Jewish so Hanukkah was always an important part of the Christmas season to me, as much of a lead up to the big day as getting our tree, the Christmas concert at school, and sneaking up into the attic where Santa had hidden the presents. Not sure Sandy, Phil, Jerry, Janie, and Chuck felt as warmly about Christmas or appreciated my folding their holiday into mine. But they were generally tolerant and forgiving of my ignorance and Catholic chauvinism. The first religious bigot I had to face down was me. Anyway…I was trying to remember a year when we were kids when the first night of Hanukkah coincided with Christmas eve and I couldn’t. Turns out there’s a reason. It never happened. In fact, it’s only happened once before in my lifetime and we weren’t kids anymore.
This article by Kat Eschner sort of explains why this has been so and why it might or might not happen again while I'm still around to see it. Follow the link to "Someday, Maybe We’ll Have Hanukkah in July" at Smithsonian.com.
Zachary Crockett has more details and a helpful chart at Vox where he answers the question "How often does the first night of Hanukkah fall on Christmas?"