Monday, November 25, 2013

A Thanksgiving & Hanukkah Convergence Zone

As 2013 comes to a close, it brings us to the interesting phenomena of the first day of Hanukkah coinciding with Thanksgiving Day. I just want to stop for a minute, ponder within this convergence zone and appreciate this very rare event.

Thanksgiving Day can fall anywhere between November 22-28. About every seven years it falls on November 28 - the latest possible day it can be in November - which is the case this year. As most of us know, Hanukkah moves around from year to year on the Jewish calendar. It's a complicated calculation on a different calendar. As a result, Hanukkah has a wide latitude to fall anywhere from November 28 to December 27 in any given year.

To cut to the chase, the convergence of Thanksgiving Day with the first day of Hanukkah is, indeed, a very rare occurrence. I've read that this coincidence may never occur again or could possibly occur in 70,000 years. By then, I know for sure that I will be long retired from the toy business. Or I could keep returning as a toy store owner.

But until then, I continue to enjoy the ways we play for the holidays. I say "play", because the gift-giving emphasis of the month of December is most certainly focused on children. And children are most definitely focused on toys! But I say "we" because all ages enjoy toys in their many forms. 

Whether you're giving Hanukkah or Christmas gifts, or just prefer to celebrate in a secular way, think about choosing toys for children (or even adults) that educate, develop skill or inspire creativity. Let Fundamentally Toys help you this holiday season!

If you are giving Hanukkah gifts this year, the eight days of Hanukkah are celebrated from November 27 to December 6. Some parents give eight little gifts to their children; others give one big gift on the last day. Gelt (Yiddish for money) is traditionally given. A friend of mine gives chocolate gold coins to friends during Hanukkah as a fun and yummy way to celebrate this Jewish holiday.

St. Nicholas Day (December 6) is a fun little Catholic feast day that's a mini warm-up to Christmas for Christians. St. Nicholas was a fourth-century bishop who was particularly generous to children. My mom gave me and my sister St. Nicholas Day gifts when we were young. It was usually something small and useful, like a box of crayons or colored pencils, but I was always thrilled nonetheless.

After St. Nicholas Day, I would spend the rest of the month either thinking about what I so badly wanted for Christmas or trying to guess where my mom was hiding the presents. Ah! It was agony waiting for the ecstasy of Christmas morning -  only to be mitigated by helping my mom make holiday cookies.

As you head into this late November/early December holiday time of celebration, I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with gratitude and that your Hanukkah feels golden!

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