If you haven’t already brought out your Hanukkah Menorah, you probably have thought about it. Not just because the first night to light is next Wednesday at sundown, November 27, but because this year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are on the same day! If that’s not enough entertaining anxiety for you, there is the question of what to do for the next 7 nights of Hanukkah. Besides serving 7 more dishes that may have Turkey, Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, and Stuffing in them, I have my own 8 Tips for a more meaningful Hanukkah this year.
1. Create your menu in advance. Since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah haven’t coincided in our lifetime (and it won’t again until after our lifetime) there has been an avalanche of mash-up recipes from regular foodies to celebrity chefs. I actually found some great recipes all over the web. I especially fell in love with Coconut Latkes with Cranberry Applesauce Cardamom and Mascarpone via Amy Kritzer of the popular food blog, What Jew Wanna Eat. You can also find great recipes over at KosherEye.com as well. Have you found a favorite recipe? Please share link in the comments below.
2. Shop ahead of time. Since my husband does most of the shopping, he has already found the best prices on Turkey (kosher), sweet potatoes, cranberries, and gluten free flour. It is always better to avoid the mad rush to the store the night before. As we all know too well, as hard as we try to plan, we always end up rushing out for things at the last minute.
3. Design your table. There have been so many creative ways to blend both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving decoratively this year. There have been some great ideas over at Pinterest (I just had to create a board with my favorites, Jewish Holidays). Even if home décor and party planning is not your cup of tea, you will find these table display ideas fun and easy.
4. Decorate your home. There are some great ways to decorate the home for Hanukkah. Like these Personalized dreidel bags with colored letters. These were created by Audrey Groothuis of Gezunta Goodies. They even make great place settings or party favors. I filled them up with chocolate gelt and candy. Get your personalized dreidel bag over at www.gezuntagoodies.com.
5. Get crafty. There is no better way to celebrate Hanukkah with kids then to create with them. You should definitely check out the latest issue of JCreate Mag. There are many #Hanukkah craft ideas to choose from. Check out the latest issue of Jcreate Mag at http://issuu.com/jcreatemag/docs/november-2013/39?e=8061086%2F5587291. In addition to the craft ideas, you will love the printable Mitzvah Notes complete with a Thanksgiving and Hanukkah theme to them. We also really, really love the Handmade Hanukkah Kit from
KiwiCrate.com. This is also a great gift idea and something fun to keep the kids busy when they are out of school.
6. Take a lot of pictures. So many memories result from these once-a year gatherings of friends and family. Make sure your cameras are fully loaded, and your mobile devices fully charged (with extra battery power in tow). I can’t tell you how many times I have missed great moments due to a dead battery. Once your images are saved, go to Shutterfly to create memory books or coffee mugs to relive those moments again and again.
7. Keep family from out of town near and dear. There will always be family members that aren’t able to make it to your Hanukkah or Thanksgiving celebration this year. Keep them in mind and in the picture via Skype. Send them something special, like some of the same cookies or cake you will be eating, so that they can have what you’re having, when you are having it.
8. Give back to those that can’t give this year. Even in this time of joy and celebration, there are people that are doing anything but that. This can happen to those experiencing a hard time financially or medically. Take a day and volunteer at a soup kitchen or make cards for kids in a hospital. If you are not able to physically do anything, make a small donation. Check out how you can get involved in the New York are at Masbia Soup Kitchen.https://www.facebook.com/masbia.