Thanksgivukkah: What Happens When Two Holidays Collide

By Hayley Grunebaum on November 18, 2013
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Co-written by Hayley Grunebaum and Hannah Gross.

Thanksgiving: The one time a year when it is socially acceptable to unbutton your pants at the dinner table; a day of pounding shots with uncle Larry and watching cousin Paul take a snooze headfirst in the stuffing. We celebrate this holiday as a way to honor the “union” of the Pilgrims and Native Americans, as we gorge ourselves on turkey, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, apple pie, blueberry pie…cherry pie—pie?

Oh, and pie.

Thanksgiving is a day when your whole family—sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, and nineteenth cousins once removed—comes together at one enormous table and gives thanks for the harvest of the previous year.

Only this time around we make room at our table for a few more: Hanukkah Harry and the Maccabees. Oy Vey.

An uncanny alignment of calendars calls for a dual celebration of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah that will not occur again for another 70,000 years. The rarity of such a co-occurrence has ignited a social-media frenzy. “Thanksgivukkah,” coined by Boston resident Dana Gitell, has accrued Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest pages among others, making this challah-day a buzzworthy phenomenon. Even the major department stores are following suit. This year, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is including a three-story spinning dreidel balloonicle in its lineup.

Rather than being frazzled by a clash of holiday cuisines, folks have fully embraced the merge of staple foods and created innovative recipes that will put you in an even deeper food coma. So rummage through your mom’s vintage maternity clothes and don her finest stretch-pants because tonight we’re havin’ sweet potato latkes, challah stuffing, Manischewitz-Brined roast turkey, and cranberry-encrusted gelt (what?).

And tell Mom not to toss out the old Thanksgiving decor, but rather put a twist on that handprint turkey from your second-grade art class by, I don’t know, adding a kippah? Or, if your family suffers from a creative deficit, you can purchase your very own “Menurkey” (a Menorah shaped like a turkey), courtesy of a little boy named Asher, who wasn’t afraid to reach for the stars.

Kippah

Thanksgiving traditions consist of more than just food and decorations—because, let’s face it, what is an American holiday without a game of football? So don’t let the addition of Hanukkah get in the way. You can still rally the troops for a little healthy competition to work off that stuffing and even find an excuse to “accidentally” tackle your least favorite relative…oh, don’t pretend like you don’t have one. And have no fear benchwarmers, this year is your chance to get in on the action: put your fingers to the test and you spin that dreidel.

We understand. The holiday season can make even the sanest of the bunch a little crazy. Keep in mind, however, that holidays are to be celebrated. So when your head starts to spin—you burnt the turkey, your grandma’s wasted off of Manischewitz, you bet all your gelt on the losing flag football team—just remember that this convergence of traditions won’t happen again for another 70,000 years. Lechaim.

Until next time,
Hannah and Hayley

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Hayley is a senior at the University of Michigan, majoring in English and Psychology. This summer, she interned at a start-up media company called Bedrocket, as well as The Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies at NYU where she worked with young adolescent gay males with and without HIV. Hayley loves creative writing, poetry, and people. She can only chew two pieces of gum at once, even if each individual piece is huge (can't break the habit), and has a weird obsession with John Mayer, despite his reputation as a womanizer. She is so excited to be a part of the Uloop team.

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