Thanksgiving Meets Hanukkah: Hanukkah Gift or Challenge?

Bowl of NutsWhat do you think about this once-in-our-lifetime convergence of Hanukkah with Thanksgiving?

“It is a holiday mashup that has happened only once before—in 1888—according to those who track the Jewish calendar. And it is one that isn’t set to happen again for potentially another 70,000-plus years.” Wall Street Journal.

15% off Hanukkah Games Box. Get a whole box of games for your family! 1 week only. October 10 – 16. 

In November, I’ll share ideas and even products that this opportunity has spawned. Like the name Thanksgivukkah. And the menurkey, a menorah shaped like a turkey.

How will early Hanukkah affect your family?

Now, though, I’m wondering – aside from serving latkes with turkey – how we can mark this special moment?

What opportunities exist to make this double-holiday unique for your unique family?

For many American families, Thanksgiving is about food, family, and gratitude, as well as parades and football.

Hanukkah is also about food, family, and gratitude. Swap out the parades and football for blessings, games, and presents.

So there is plenty of overlap.

Do you celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas?

While Hanukkah is often earlier than Christmas, there’s not usually this wide a gap. Does this separation make it better for families who celebrate both?

Will there, perhaps, be more simplicity for interfaith families?

When the holidays coincide, the question is how to celebrate both and keep the peace. I was asked, for instance, to contribute to an article called “Celebrate Cultural Diversity” about ways to weave together Hanukkah and Christmas celebrations.

This year, with the festivities so far apart, will it be easier for families to celebrate each holiday distinctly, purely, for what it is?

Here are two more considerations:

What if you aren’t hosting?

We’re not hosting this year. So we can’t choose to bring Hanukkah into the celebration in the way we might otherwise.

But because we will all (I hope) be together for Thanksgiving, we can’t expect people to travel to us the next night, or the night after, for a separate celebration, right?

Or do we invite people to stay longer and plan an event for the second light, which is Friday night?

What if you are hosting?

If you’ll have in-laws, family, or friends with you for Thanksgiving who don’t usually participate in your Hanukkah celebrations, will their presence add joy? Or introduce discomfort and tension?

Share your thoughts – and share this post

I’d love to hear your thoughts, your solutions, your ideas. I don’t want to miss the uniqueness of this festival² – and, probably like you, I want to make it as joyful as possible.

Take this quickie 9-question survey and I’ll let you know the results.

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P.S. Here’s the riddle of our nuts image. Is it to munch on while watching football? Or to use when playing dreidel? Or this year, is it for both?!

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