10/22/2013 12:46 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

How to Plan Your Thanksgivukkah

I just realized that this year there is a rare converging of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah this year, resulting in Thanksgivukkah! This is literally a once in a lifetime opportunity, as it won't happen again for thousands of years. (The last time it happened was in 1888.) You might be wondering how this is even possible. Well, the Western calendar and the Jewish calendar operate on different cycles, so each Jewish holiday shows up on our Western calendar at a different time every year. This year, it just so happens that the holidays align. So, the big question is: what does this mean for people who celebrate both occasions? The general consensus is to respectfully celebrate them together. Here's how.

Meal Mash-up
The traditional meal is one of the best parts of any holiday. But I've got to admit, being able to alter the beloved Thanksgiving menu, and combine it with the delicious Hanukkah menu, no less, brings a certain excitement. Some ideas on how to fuse together foods from both holidays are to brine your turkey with Manischewitz and then stuff it with challah bread. And for dessert, try pecan pie rugelach or pumpkin kugel.

Food No-no's
One thing to stay away from, if you're on the more religious end of the scale, is eating potato latkes with sour cream. Kosher laws forbid mixing milk and meat, and unless you're a vegetarian, this applies to you. Even if you don't have turkey and sour cream on your plate together, you still have to wait six hours after eating meat before you can eat dairy. Try some cranberry applesauce on your latkes instead!

For festive décor, you may want to switch out your traditional menorah for turkey taper candleholders, or make your own menorah by using tiny pumpkins and tea lights. Just make sure you have 9 altogether, 1 for the shamash, the candle used to light the others, and 1for each night. Some other décor ideas are cornucopias filled with chocolate gelt and plastic pumpkins decorated in blue and gold glitter spray paint.

For those who live far away from their families and celebrate both holidays, the convergence of the two is a tremendous convenience. They only need to fly home once. But, of course, the day before Thanksgiving is already one of the busiest travel days. So, if you plan on traveling, be sure to book your flight or reserve your train seat well in advance. You may also want to leave Monday or Tuesday instead of Wednesday, and don't even dream of coming back the Sunday after unless you have to!

Since there are eight nights of Hanukkah gifts, why not save just one for Thanksgivukkah appropriate presents. For kids, try harvest color inspired dreidel to play with, or one in plush to snuggle with. And for adults, how about a bottle of pumpkin wine along with Yiddish phrase-clad wine glass charms!

And, of course, don't forget to take pictures! This occasion will go down in history and future generations will want to know what their families did to embrace the meshing of cultures and double the holiday fun. Happy Thanksgivukkah, everybody!

What are you doing to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime holiday? Share in the comments!


Dana Holmes is a lifestyle, gift and etiquette expert who acts as Editor in Chief of and the Gift Rap Blog. She has been working in trend forecasting and gift recommendations for the past decade. Dana loves making occasions special with her unique gift ideas, tips and touches. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, Associated Press, Fox & Friends, TODAY in NY and many more.