Thankanukkah? How about Hanukkahanksgiving?
Put your tongue twisting word inventions aside because this holiday convergence between Thanksgiving and Hanukkah has already been officially coined as Thanksgivukkah, which for the first time since 1888 will be celebrated on the same day. Whereas Thanksgiving is celebrated for one day on the fourth Thursday in November, Hanukkah (also known as the Festival of Lights) is observed for eight days and begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev (between November and December) in the Hebrew calendar. This year, the first full day of Hanukkah happens to land on the same day as Thanksgiving. It's such a rare occurrence that it will not happen again until another estimated 70,000 plus years.
Though this hybrid holiday may not seem like a big deal for most Americans who only celebrate Thanksgiving, for the Jewish American population, it's a chance to combine both holidays with family in a unique and memorable way. For businesses, Thanksgivukkah will make the biggest shopping season of the year quite different from the usual – from what is sold to bought, all Americans may be finding themselves saying, "Happy Thanksgivukkah!"
Thanksgivukkah has created a marketing frenzy among retailers. Online merchants such as Zazzle and CafePress have been rolling out Thanksgivukkah merchandise from t-shirts, hats, posters, mugs, and even undergarments as they try to cash in on this celebration. Orders for these items have ranged in single digits to multiple larger purchases for those buying for friends or the entire family. For non-Jews, these Thanksgivukkah products have helped the holiday to become a pop culture phenomenon that everyone can participate in and enjoy. Some people have even started a collection of these items to mark the historical event.
Food is always the big topic of conversation during any holiday season. From pumpkin challah to mashed potatoes with horseradish, sites like Allrecipes.com have been quick to release recipes combining great meals together on one plate. While some Jewish Americans are celebrating Thanksgivukkah as one meal, others are recognizing the two holidays separately with two meals for the day. Grocery stores, such as the Illinois based chain Jewel-Osco are getting in the act as well, promoting holiday catering as not only a Thanksgiving affair, but a Thanksgivukkah celebration on their Facebook page.
Earlier Holiday Deals
The coming of Thanksgivukkah also brings about a change in holiday promotions from retailers. In the past, Hanukkah has usually fallen closer to Christmas, but this year that's no longer the case. Hanukkah gifts, which are exchanged for each of the eight days have to be bought earlier than before. This means retailers have had to start sales earlier than usual too.
Jewish Americans constitute only about 2% of the U.S. population or 6.8 million and even though their population size is small, their spending power outweighs typical Americans. According to Pam Goodfellow, a consumer insights director at Prosper Insights & Analytics, Hanukkah shoppers spend an estimated 25% more than than the average holiday shopper and retailers are fully aware of this. Deals for higher priced goods, such as electronics and jewelry are expected to get an early head start.
Sales are also starting much sooner because some retailers are pushing Black Friday sales up one day, starting as early as 6am in stores on Thanksgiving day and all day online. Plus, the shortened holiday shopping season this year only gives shoppers 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas, adding additional fuel to the heavier push on sales.
An American Celebration
Thanksgivukkah is a crossbreed mix of two well-known holidays celebrated by people living in the United States that represents a time when Americans can come together to be thankful for what they have and appreciate the religious freedom they enjoy. This holiday may be a once-in-a-lifetime kind of deal, but its significance shouldn't be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. After all, in what other country can you find menorahs and turkeys coinciding at one big table?
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