Image sourced from thisreidwrites
2013 is a pretty special year when it comes to kicking off the winter sprint of American holidays, because this year Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah occur on the same day. It’s being dubbed everything from “Thanksgivingukkah” to “Thanksgivukkah”. I prefer the latter, but I’ve seen it all.
Thanksgiving is annually celebrated by Americans on the fourth Thursday of November. Its status as a national holiday did not occur until former President Abraham Lincoln established it in 1863. Before then, it was observed on various days depending on the region. Holiday traditions vary by family and locale, but tend to include a large turkey or ham, potatoes in some fashion, rolls, pie, and getting together with family.
Hannukkah is a different matter. While the festival occurs around the same time, that time is based on the Jewish calendar and not the Gregorian one. This year, the holiday starts on November 28, 2013, or 25 Kislev, 5774. The two holidays just happen to fall on the same day.
More information: Happy Ridiculously Early Jewish New Year! See you on Thanksgivukkah!
So, what can you do to celebrate both holidays?
Five Ways to Celebrate the Dual Holidays
1. Dress Up Your Menorah- Get a Menurkey!
Really, I can’t make this stuff up. There is a company that sells a turkey-shaped Menorah and they’re calling it a Menurkey. Actually, the blue one is kind of pretty. It’d use it as Thanksgiving decoration any year. Unfortunately, the blue one seems to be frequently sold out.
Don’t want to shell out the $50+shipping for a once-in-a-lifetime turkey menorah? You can just buy the app (Apple only) ! iMenurkey .
2. Laugh a little, Sing a Little
Okay, so you might not dig Colbert, but I do. Here’s a clip where a worried Colbert freaks out about the Thanksgivingukkuh phenomenon
Sing a Thanksgivukkah song:
3. Try these unique twists to old favorites:
Turkey Matzo Ball Soup – for the leftover lurkey
If you’re like me and come from a non-Jewish background, your invitees might not have ever tried latkes or other “Jewish” food. So why not add it to the menu? You’re likely already to have bought a big 50 pound bag of russets; surely you can spare a few for homemade latkes?
Crispy Panko Potato Latkes from The Shiksa in the Kitchen (by the way- look at that bowl!!)
Latke Recipes from AllRecipes.com
Cranberry-Lathered Latkes from the American Jewish World Service
4. Combine the best of both holidays by focusing on the thankfulness that both holidays inspire.
The Jewish Teen Funder’s Network (JTFN) has compiled a whole list of ways to celebrate this unique holiday combo. They include:
During Thanksgiving dinner, take a “gratitude break.” Ask everyone to take a moment to think about the best gift they have ever received (Was it a tangible gift? Was it an experience? What is a key lesson learned? Who gave it to you? What made it so special?) as well as the best gift they’ve ever given (To whom? Why did you give it?) Go around the table and share. You may just learn that your daughter’s favorite gift was that quiet morning you spent snuggling together on the couch, and not the iPod Touch you got her last Hanukkah.
and one that I think I’ll do this year with leftover cans of formula:
Pull out the crayons, stickers, scissors, and glue for a make-your-own tzedakah box activity. For the artistically challenged, there are kits available online. As you decorate, talk about tzedakah, what it means to give Jewishly, and why it’s important. Drop the first coins in together as an opportunity to recite the Shehecheyanu blessing.
Or, volunteer at a soup kitchen. It’s a holiday tradition for some to put in hours at a soup kitchen to feed the hungry on Thanksgiving. Many locations make sure to provide a hot meal for the poor and homeless. In the spirit of tzedekah, why not help out? If you can’t donate time, what about donating money, food for a food pantry, or a hot plate to someone in your community?
5. Submit how you celebrated to the “How We Celebrated” National Thanksgivukkah Photo Project
From the blog:
“This is a unique opportunity to literally take a snapshot of the American Jewish community as well as to capture the ways other Americans have embraced this moment as an opportunity to celebrate religious freedom,” said Dana Gitell. “By sending in photographs of how you celebrated Thanksgivukkah, you can be part of a pictorial record of this historical moment. Selections of these photos will be posted our blog at www.thanksgivukkah.com as well as compiled for potential release in a book format or more expansive digital presentation.”
This holiday combination is a good time to sit down and think about what really matters – family, friendship, and fulfillment. What really matters in our lives – all the stuff, or the people who enrich our lives?
Oh, and have fun! This event won’t come again anytime soon.