Chicago families prepare to celebrate “Thanksgivukkah”

In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Jewish population in America is very excited about Thanksgiving this year. In a Christmas-filled world we Jews are usually quietly celebrating Chanukah at home. It’s quite difficult to ignore the splashy celebrations of Christmas. Beautiful twinkly lights, advertisements and toys commercials abound and all our cartoons pre-empted for Christmas specials. It’s a happy, wonderful time of year that often we feel left out of.

 So, that's what's so awesome this year! 

Thanksgiving and Chanukah for the first time ever will coincide. Typically Chanukah is a winter celebration often overlapping with Christmas during late December. This makes for a lot of questions from my little ones as to why we don’t have a tree, when Santa is coming over already and why can’t our house light up too?

It’s sort of a downer for any Jewish American kid to not have Christmas lights on the block. But, with this earlier celebration of Chanukah we sort of get our ‘own’ time of year to celebrate the Festival of Lights with the candles we will put in our window for 8 days in NOVEMBER.

The second night of Chanukah falling on Thanksgiving makes for fun and interesting menus choices as well. Traditional turkeys mixed with sweet potato latkas (traditional Chanukah potato pancakes). Chefs all across the kosher gamut are living it up reinventing Thanksgiving and Chanukah. We’ve tweaked the meaning of Thanksgiving by combining an American holiday celebrating thankfulness with a Jewish holiday celebrating miracles.

As all good retailers will tell you, finding a catchy name was important. “Thanksgivukkah” was born and with it, merchandising. Tons of t-shirts, “Menurkeys” (Turkey-shaped Menorahs), Kippahs (headcoverings), games and tons of other Thanksgivikkah paraphernalia were quickly put on sale. Parades and national celebrations have been put together. It has become a sort of neuvo-holiday that we will not see the likes of for around another 6000 years.

So, even though this is a once in a lifetime event, my kids are extra excited this year that finally Chanukah is getting some airtime. My hairdresser today asked me what Thanksgivikkah was all about, making my four-year-old smile wide and happily tell him all about it.

 Have a happy Thanksgivukkah to one and all!
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