Thanksgivukkah – a Once in a Lifetime Event For Families
Both holidays are especially meaningful: Hanukkah is a celebration of fortitude and survival, while Thanksgiving is an expression of our gratefulness. It is a fun opportunity to blend these celebrations. Yet it takes a bit of creativity to bring the essence of these holidays alive for young children.
“Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide this year for the first time since 1888, and will not do so again for thousands of years. It could simply be an opportunity to name a new holiday – Thanksgivukkah. Or, it could be something much more –
the opportunity to celebrate that
it is never too late to say thank you.”
– excerpt from an excellent article from Rabbi Brad Hirschfield from Clal
With some creative ideas & tools (that make the concept more concrete), even young children are eager to share their gratitude.
“I’m Thankful For…” Paper Plate Pull
Write those words in the center of a paper plate. Poke a hole near one edge and tie a string to it, so the child can pull it around. Have the child search for items, or pictures of people or places, for which they are grateful. Encourage them to pull their treasures around like a parade (carefully so the items don’t fall off). Enjoy parade music in the background.
Lighting the Candles of Gratitude
The Menorrah, with 8 smaller candles, and one larger candle in the center is a centerpiece of the Hanukkah tradition. Although there are specific meaning attached to them in the Jewish traditions, it is enough for young children just to experience some activity that makes the candles meaningful for them. Electric tea candle lights will be perfect and safe for our little ones.
It is magical when the lights are off, and the candles are on. In a soft singing voice, choose a song to sing that adds to this magic, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m gonna let it shine”. or even “Shalom Haverim”.
To add the gratitude attitude to the magic of the lights, Start with the lights in the house on. Take one candle to a room, and state something the child or family is grateful for, then “light” the candle, turn off the light in the room, and walk back to place the lighted candle on a special cloth on the kitchen table. Do this for a total of 9 lights in the house, with the last one in the kitchen, which gets turned off when the last candle is lit. Then sing a song that is special for your family.
Plenty of other folks have incorporated the best of both these holidays into music, crafts, and ideas.
This Thanksgivukkah Page for Kids, from JewishBoston.com includes 27 different articles full of fun. I especially liked idea of developing “family giving rituals”, the accapella group video, the ideas for Young Children focusing on thankfullness and friendship, and the 8 family friendly activities.
Eight Crazy Ways to Celebrate Thanksgivukkah on the CNN Belief Blog is a delightful read and includes interesting ideas and information.
How did you celebrate this holiday with your family?