(WJLA) - A few years ago, Christmas and Hanukkah both fell on December 25th, creating Chrismukkah. This year, the Jewish holiday coincides with another holiday - Thanksgiving. This is the first time since 1888 that the two celebrations have fallen on the same date. The hybrid holiday has been lovingly dubbed Thanksgivukkah.
If you think about it, the two holidays are quite similar. They both celebrate religious freedom, they encourage friends and family gatherings, and they highlight delicious seasonal foods.
"What is most important is to serve what has meaning to your family and friends and then have some fun adapting a few dishes to include both holidays or trying a couple new Thanksgivukkah recipes," said Susan Barocas, Project Director of the Jewish Food Experience.
Barocas says combining traditional dishes from the two holidays is easy and tasty. For example, instead of latkes made with white potatoes, try making them with sweet potatoes. And transforming Turkey Day staples like corn or squash into Hanukkah fritters will impress guests who show up for either holiday. Looking to switch out that cornbread dressing? How about stuffing that bird with challah.
"Hanukkah foods are focused on oil, which makes us think of frying," said Barocas. "But how about serving fresh green beans sautéed in olive oil and shallots instead of that green bean casserole."
Decorations can also add a festive, yet creative edge to the Thanksgivukkah table. A menorah can be dressed up with autumn garland. And cornucopias don't always have to overflow with fruits and vegetables. You can swap them out with gold coins and dreidels.
"In the end, food is a great way to get people to the table in more ways than just physical presence," said Barocas. "Thanksgivukkah is a wonderful holiday to invite people of all different backgrounds and religions to spend time together, and that really is what matters."