Tuesday, November 26, 2013

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Thanksgivukkah

First appeared on Blogcritics.

hanak 1 ny daily newsSubmit it for your approval; the next stop is the Menurkey Zone. “Menurkey?” you may ask, but it is indeed a word. A great story in the New York Daily News tells of an enterprising young lad from Manhattan named Asher Weintraub, who designed a combination menorah-turkey and dubbed it a “Menurkey.” According to his father Anthony, swift thinking Asher has sold over 5,000 of these lovely little tchotchkes to the public just craving something to mark the convergence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah. Or is that Thanksgivukkah this year?

As someone who celebrates Christmas, I have always been dismayed about Thanksgiving falling into a sort of abyss that we could have found on the The Twilight Zone. It seems each year it becomes increasingly overlooked in terms of a “no” holiday, as in November, that falls inconveniently between mega-holidays Halloween and Christmas.

Since I love the essence of Thanksgiving – being a holiday that lacks presents and only requires the presence of friends and loved ones – it bothers me that after the haunted hijinks of Halloween, we get people pulling down the witches and ghosts and slapping up the Christmas lights, without even thinking about an illuminated turkey or two. It truly bugs me that Thanksgiving – the very nature of being “thankful” is so essential – is relegated now to a day where we may gather, but need to rush because stores are open on this day as they never were before. It seems this year it could be a case of pass the stuffing and here’s your hat, I’ve got to go shopping now! Man, do I hate that idea.What about the wonderful slow process of  eating the pumpkin pie while sitting in front of the TV watching football? How dare they stomp on such sacred tradtions!

Now, I’ve been hearing Christmas songs in the stores since the day after Halloween, and for the last couple of weeks on the radio. By the time December rolls around I think I will want to pummel the dashboard anytime I hear Andy Williams sing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (which seems like every five minutes these days). I never thought it would come to this. Ever.

hanak 3 getty imagesMeanwhile, the lights and trees and angels are glowing, and Santas everywhere are “Ho-Ho-Hoing,” and the  menorahs are yet to be lit. I also feel as if Chanukah has always gotten the short end of the stick, which is usually because it falls so close to Christmas. I remember my friend’s home down the block from my house of glowing lights with its lonely menorah in the window, the blue light bulbs increasing each “crazy night” (according to Adam Sandler) until all the blue bulbs were glowing, sometimes for days after Chanukah officially ended. I used to think it was sad, but now somehow I think it was a defiant symbol of upholding tradition amidst all the crazy lightshow that Christmas had become.

I still feel bad for those of us who want to celebrate Thanksgiving and Chanukah every year. These seemed to be overwhelmed holidays, especially due to the crass commercialism that created the seemingly unstoppable Halloween-Christmas monster holiday. However, young Asher may have found a way to save the day in some way with his brilliant creation. By linking Chanukah and Thanksgiving with his Menurkey, he has thought of a way to not just bridge the gap but perhaps overcome it.

adamIf there is some way to make this an annual celebration (oh, overlooking the lunar calendar, of course), there could be a grand swelling of those who want to mark this fourth Thursday of November more passionately, standing up to the big eastern syndicate that longed to link Halloween and Christmas for so many years (you don’t think that Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin was just a coincidence, do you?).

So this year drink your gin and tonica, play your harmonica, light you Menurkey, and eat your turkey. Oh, and watch some football if you dare. It is definitely beginning to look like Chanukah and Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgivukkah to all, and to all a good (and crazy) eight nights!  

  Photo credits: weintraub-daily news; sandler; menorah-getty images

1 comment:

smidge said...


I hope you don't mind me getting in touch out of the blue. I'm a journalist for the Times Educational Supplement, a weekly magazine for teachers and educationists in the UK.

I'm currenly working on an article about the loneliness of being a school principal. I was therefore interested to read your day-in-the-life piece on Teaching Monster, and was wondering whether you'd be willing to chat to me over the phone about the potential loneliness of a principal's life.

If at all possible, I'd love to speak to you either this week or early next week. I can be reached on:

Thanks very much,