WOODLAND HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah fell on the same day this year, making way for the unique holiday fusion of “Thanksgivukkah.”
Millions of Americans are celebrating both holidays, blending traditions, decor and — most importantly — food.
Scott Emerson grew up in Cape Cod near Plymouth Rock, a community steeped in history and tradition. That meant lavish traditional Thanksgiving celebrations.
“I grew up across the street from the first one-room schoolhouse in America; we used to ice skate on cranberry bogs,” he said. “It was all pilgrim-central where I grew up.”
But this year, the pumpkins and fall floral centerpieces adorning the Emersons’ Thanksgiving table are joined by yarmulkes, dreidels, menorahs and candles flickering blue light.
Scott converted to Judaism four years ago when he married his wife Monica, and the two are among the millions of Americans celebrating the rare double holiday of “Thanksgivukkah.”
“There’s more candles to light, that’s for sure,” Scott said.
To mark the rare event, Monica Emerson merged staple dishes from both holidays.
“My table’s been set for probably almost two weeks now,” said Monica. “I just kept adding to it.”
Along with a Thanksgiving turkey, dishes included horseradish and garlic mashed potatoes, pumpkin cheesecake and pecan pie rugelach. As an appetizer, the Emersons served latkes with cranberry-apple sauce.
Some of the fusion dishes Monica tested in advance of the holiday, like a bourbon sweet potato noodle kugel, did not make the cut.
But the Emersons say the best combination of all is celebrating the two different holidays with both their Jewish and non-Jewish friends and relatives.
Some predict this rare occurrence of Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hannukkah may not happen again for thousands of years.
“I think this is it for us,” Scott joked. “We’ve gotta get this right tonight, we’re not going to get a second chance at this one.”