With Thanksgiving barely a week behind us and Chanukah just ending, it seems a particularly appropriate moment to reflect on this year’s most unusual juxtaposition of sacred and secular celebrations. Beyond the kitsch of “Thanksgivukah,” as so many referred to it, there is a common thread between the two holidays, and it is a significant one. Both are about gratitude.
As someone who loves to eat and is proud to be an American, I would never be the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving. But I confess. I have not been swept up in the whirlwind excitement over Thanksgivukkah. The last time Chanukah occurred around this season was 1861, but President Lincoln only declared Thanksgiving an official holiday in 1863.
What do you get when you cross Chanukah with Thanksgiving? Sounds like the beginning of a Borscht Belt joke, I know, but it’s not only happening this year, the convergence of Chanukah and Thanksgiving is actually a once-in-a-lifetime event, which, if celebrated well, is also an event that can change your life forever.