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Posts Tagged ‘Thanksgiving’

Happy Thanksgivukkah

I haven’t posted to this spot in a while, and for that I do offer my apologies. No excuse really.

Those of you who are regular readers, and I hope there are still some of you out there, know I often talk about how I like to keep my American traditions alive by celebrating all the American holidays from my home in Toronto, Canada. One of my favorites has always been Thanksgiving. I always like to drag out all the festive decorations and start cooking a big turkey dinner with stuffing, sweet potatoes, and all the fixings.

In fact, in the past I have publicly advocating officially moving Canadian Thanksgiving from October to November to coincide with US Thanksgiving, for many practical reasons, including seasonal timing, all day football watching and Black Friday sales which Canadians are very much already partaking in.

This year brings up a dilemma. I also like to go full out on the Jewish holidays. The year 2013 brings up a rare occurrence. For the first time since Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday and not occurring for another 77,000 years, the first night of Hanukkah falls on the night before Thanksgiving. Some have coined this special event, Thanksgivukkah. December will be less than a week old and the eight day festival will have ended. Although Hanukkah is often associated with Christmas, by the time everyone has their tree set up and the wreaths and lights all hung, the menorahs and dreidels will all be put away for the year.

So, how do I handle it this year without giving either holiday the short end of the deal? I thought about just moving all Thanksgiving activities this year to the Canadian Thanksgiving which occurred on October 14, this year. Since all the Jewish Holidays were finished by the end of September I didn’t have the usual conflict, but something would still be missing.

Turkey celebrating Hanukkah

So I guess the best thing to do is just go along with what others are doing this year and embrace the combined holiday of Thanksgivukkah to the fullest. The two holidays do share similar themes and meanings. So bring it on. “Lights, Liberty and Latkes” is the motto this year.

Full disclosure: This year will be extra special for me. For the first time in many years I will be home in the USA to celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, due to a family Bar Mitzvah celebration. So it will be a Thanksgivinkumitzvah for me. One question if you eat for three separate celebrations but you combine them into one weekend do all the calories still count?

I’m curious how others are combining Hanukkah and Thanksgiving this year? Are you planning any special recipes or events? Let me know by leaving me a comment.

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Last year, I debated whether its better to celebrate Thanksgiving in November like my fellow Americans or in October as it is celebrated here in Canada. At that time, I considered it a draw. (See-When is the best time to Celebrate Thanksgiving)

Well, I think I’ve changed my mind. I now believe that Canadian Thanksgiving should be observed simultaneously with the American holiday. The reason: Shopping, Shopping, Shopping.

Lady Shopper with Sales SignsThe terms Black Friday and Cyber Monday have now entered Canadian speak. Hoards of Canadian shoppers now make the annual trek stateside to participate in the madness of post Thanksgiving sales. I think Buffalo, NY and other border cities may have more “eh” speaking customers than residents in those line-ups trying to score those big screen TVs and other doorcrashers.

Many people are already taking time off work to hit those south of the border sales. Countless business hours are lost the following Monday by people looking for the best Cyber Monday bargains. Retailers in Canada are even jumping on board offering extended store hours and Black Friday deals of their own – an attempt to keep those dollars on this side of the border.

With so many people already making it a holiday for themselves, why not just jump on the bandwagon and make the official Thanksgiving switch. Don’t want to make such a radical change. Fine, here’s another idea. You can keep Thanksgiving in October and find something else to commemorate late November. Everyone appreciates a holiday. In the USA, Columbus Day coincides with the Canadian Thanksgiving. I’m sure the creative lawmakers of Canada can figure out something to celebrate in November. Anything that incorporates large meals, excessive sports watching and a weekend of shopping will do.

This suggestion works both ways. For years I’ve been calling for the introduction of Boxing Day to Americans. In fact now that Barack Obama has job security for the next four years, its time to give him a call. Hello President Obama? What are your plans for the Day after Christmas?

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Thanksgiving Picture

Today is Sunday. In Canada, it is the day before the great feast of Thanksgiving. In my case, it’s the day after the great fast of Yom Kippur. In Canada Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October. In America it is celebrated the fourth Thursday in November.

I  always thought October is it too early to celebrate a major holiday like Thanksgiving. The way my people, by that I mean the ones from Brooklyn not the ones Moses led out of Egypt, celebrate it in November seems like a more ideal time. With that in mind, I decided to do a head to head comparison to see which Thanksgiving celebration came out ahead.

Time of year:

Canadians celebrate in early October; barely a month after the kids went back to school, just a few days after the official end of summer. Americans celebrate at the end of November. The days are getting shorter. School and work demands are starting to get larger. Seems like a good time for a holiday break to me.

Advantage: US

Scenery:

Early October is a beautiful time in Canada and many areas of the United States. Many plants and flowers still remain in bloom. The trees are starting to display beautiful autumn colors. By the end of November the flowers are gone, the trees have mostly shed their leaves and a look of winter is in the air.

Advantage: Canada

Proximity to other holidays:

This of course depends on which holidays you celebrate. In Canada, it is celebrated before Halloween and before the rush of the Christmas season. With fewer distractions, it is more convenient to plan a festive meal. However if you celebrate the Jewish holidays then Thanksgiving in October can prove inconvenient with it often coming right before, after and sometimes on the actual day of a religious holiday.

Advantage: Even

Weather:

It is very rare that one would get caught in a freak October snow storm. Travel delays are usually not a concern for the Canadian Thanksgiving. You may even get plenty of outdoor time.  Late November is not so risk free. I have heard of many a Thanksgiving plan ruined due to bad weather.

Advantage: Canada

Television:

US related programs include, The Macy’s Parade with floats, celebrities and gigantic balloons, a National dog show, a holiday classic like Miracle on 34th street, 3 NFL football games and Charlie Brown preparing a feast of toast and popcorn for his pals. Canadian TV offers a double-header CFL day and the Oktoberfest Thanksgiving parade live from the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

Advantage: US

Day of the week:

Celebrating on a Monday means Thanksgiving is celebrated at the end of the weekend which often means get togethers may not be held on the actual day but a day or two earlier. However it would give plenty of preparation time to those hosting the big day. Thanksgiving on Thursday is the start of the big weekend; A weekend to spend shopping at Black Friday deals, watching football or just unwinding with friends and family. I guess it depends on if you like your down time before or after the big day.

Advantage: Even

I guess after a careful analysis there is no clear-cut winner. So I will leave it up to you my faithful readers. Vote in the poll and leave me your comments:

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