I’ve written before about my love for Thanksgiving - and my belief that as a celebration of immigrants it is in a way the most Jewish of holidays - so, needless to say, I was pretty excited when I first heard about Thanksgivukkah: when Thanksgiving and the first night of Hanukkah coincide. And here we are, lucky enough to be around for this historic even that won’t happen again for some 70,000 years.
Pecan pie rugelach, latkes with cranberry sauce – the mingling of American and Jewish traditional foods makes me blush with excitement. And then there are the gifts. Oh the gifts! We Americans LOVE giving presents for everything. From Arbor Day to Columbus Day, we’ve found just about every excuse in the calendar to head to the mall. So, what’s a good Jewish American to do on Thanksgivukkah?
There are a plethora of options. The menurkey, invented by nine-year-old Asher Weintraub from New York, is a classic and easy option. This turkey-shaped menorah is the easiest way to add a touch of tradition to a Thanksgivukkah meal.
Then there are items by Modern Tribe. From Americana-themed cards (check out the riff on “American Gothic”) to a bunch of Thanksgivukkah T-shirts, and even an apron for the holiday chef, there’s something for everyone.
There are also some great unorthodox options at play. Watching or playing football over Thanksgiving is an American tradition. Enjoy it while donning your very own football kippah and drinking beer out of a Jewishly oriented pint glass. And make sure that beer is Hebrew beer, which its manufacturer dubs the “chosen beer.”
Super full and heading into sleepy-land because of your overindulgence? Sip some coffee in this nifty Yiddish proverb coffee mug and get energized enough for that second slice of pumpkin cheesecake.
But if you’re broke on Thanksgivukkah, there are plenty of DIY options. Jewish Boston has detailed instructions on all kinds of décor - from a pumpkin menorah to downloadable place cards replete with an obligatory turkey. There’s nothing like a personal touch!
Just be careful not to try too hard. There are some gifts out there that border on gross (I’m looking at you, turkey-stuffed doughnuts) and offensive (see Urban Outfitter’s “Jewish Star” shirt). You don’t want to get in the bad books of your family, friends or host before the night’s begun.
There is no limit to the creative and experimental gifts we Jews can buy this Hanukkah. But if you ask me, although we Americans like to shop, there’s always an alternative. We’ve celebrated Thanksgiving and Hanukkah for years, and for once, these two holidays fall in together. So maybe, just maybe, we should try a holiday without gifts and simply enjoy the coming together of two of the most delicious holidays ever.
Yael Miller is a professional working in International Affairs in Washington, D.C.
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