When my daughter first sent me this Buzzfeed link about a dual Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebration, I thought it was a joke. Thanksgivukkah? I envisioned Adam Sandler dressed up like a turkey and singing a sequel to his Hanukkah song on Saturday Night Live.
Curious, I clicked on the link and read the article, “How To Celebrate Thanksgivukkah, The Best Holiday Of All Time” and discovered it was no joke: On November 28, 2013 for the first time in our lifetimes, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah fall on the same day.
Yet I couldn’t help but wonder, how can they call it “the best holiday of all time” if it’s never been celebrated before? The article included links to a variety of Thanksgivukkah merchandise: posters, T-shirts and other accessories. Call me a cynic, but it sounded to me like Thanksgivukkah was just another way for businesses to make a buck.
I told myself to keep an open mind and continued reading. That’s when my eyes fell upon delicious sounding dishes: potato latkes with cranberry applesauce, challah-apple stuffing and pecan pie rugelach. Just one glance at the mouthwatering recipes for Manischewitz-brined turkey and horseradish-chive mashed potatoes and my skepticism reduced quicker than a brisket red wine sauce on high heat. I could practically smell the wine drenched turkey roasting in the oven.
Buzzfeed had me at cranberry applesauce. The spiced take on traditional cranberry sauce sounded like the perfect topping for both roasted turkey and potato latkes. And how could I pass up sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel? By the time I scrolled down to pecan pie rugelach I was begging to bake.
If the recipes alone didn’t have me embracing Thanksgivukkah, the DIY decorating ideas did. The menorah turkey or “menurkey” on display was a riot, as was the yarmulkah with the pilgrim-like belt buckle.
But when I got to the comment section I discovered that not everyone was onboard with the idea. You might be familiar with the expression, “Ask two Jews a question, get three opinions.” The phrase speaks to the value Jewish tradition places upon engaging different opinions. So I was surprised but not shocked to see the vast number of comments, 137 and counting, by Jews weighing in on the hybrid holiday.
While most of the reviews were positive and enthusiastic, some readers weren’t so keen on the Thanksgivukkah holiday.
Amanda: “I’m giving you a big fat FAIL on this one. No one wants this combined holiday… it’s like having your birthday on Christmas. I will enjoy my Thanksgiving with turkey and pumpkin pie and the following week will go to my family’s Hanukkah party and get presents and eat latkes. Don’t ruin both holidays, Buzzfeed.”
Erica: “Wow, Amanda…no one is saying you HAVE to do this. I happen to think it’s pretty awesome, and look forward to having my menorah on my Thanksgiving table! So there!”
Change can be difficult, especially when we’re talking about a Thanksgiving tradition people have been celebrating the same way for decades, and in the case of Hanukkah, centuries.
Thanksgivukkah only comes every 70,000 years, and you never know—maybe it will be the best holiday of all time. I intend to find out by celebrating Thanksgiving with a side of Hanukkah this year. The way I see it, it’s the perfect time to stop for a moment and remember to give thanks-a-latke.
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