What do you get when you cross Thanksgiving with Hanukkah? Hint: Think Hebrew, harvest, and eight nights of turkey leftovers . . .
On Nov. 28, for the first time in any of our lifetimes, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day to create a new holiday filled with dreidels and dressing, gourds and gelt, mince meat and menorahs.
In my house, we celebrate Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, celebrated for eight days and eight nights. While Hanukkah is considered a minor holiday in the Jewish faith, my family likes to make our home as festive as possible. That’s why we prepare traditional holiday foods, like potato latkes (pancakes), every year.
Given that Hanukkah occurs early this year, I wondered how I could embrace the fall season and give more than just dreidels a spin. I decided to ask my friend Debbie for advice. Debbie is an interior designer and a great cook — a real Jewish Martha Stewart.
“Funny you should ask,” Debbie said. “I was wondering that myself. Then I read an article about Thanksgivukkah on BuzzFeed.” She gave me the link to the article and told me about some of the scrumptious recipes: potato pancakes with cranberry applesauce, challah apple stuffing, and pecan pie rugelach.
The recipes sounded so good we decided that we were lucky it was Hanukkah and not Yom Kippur falling on Thanksgiving or we’d be forced to fast on the day we were supposed to feast.
Debbie mentioned some fun DIY decoration ideas too, such as cornucopias filled with Hanukkah gelt (coins) and yarmulkes (skull caps) with pilgrim-like belt buckles.
I put a few DIY ideas to the test, starting with the Thanksgiving themed yarmulke. I needed just a few simple materials: felt, scissors and glue. Using a pair of sharp scissors I cut gold felt in the shape of a buckle and glued it to the side of a yarmulke left over from my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. I also could have made a yarmulke from scratch by cutting a piece of black felt into a diameter of 6 and 1/8 inches to fit the top of my head. Within minutes, I had completed my project and was modeling my adorable new yarmulke for my family.
The Hanukkah style cornucopia was also a cinch to make. I simply filled a wicker cornucopia (available at your local craft shop) with dozens of gold foil-wrapped chocolate Hanukkah gelt and added a few plastic dreidels to the mix for extra color. The result was a fun and festive centerpiece.
Debbie and I agreed that Thanksgivukkah is the perfect excuse to put away those boring paper turkeys, take a detour from hum drum mashed potatoes, and give new recipes and decorations a try.
Why not break out of the Thanksgiving box this year? According to some calculations, Thanksgivukkah won’t happen for about another 70,000 years!
Lisa Tognola is a freelance writer from New Jersey. She blogs at http://mainstreetmusingsblog.com/ where she reflects on life in the suburbs—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
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