Hostess with the Mostest

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

Chanukah coinciding with Thanksgiving is causing me all sorts of
headaches. The obvious challenge of all the gift shopping is
complicated immeasurably by family traditions. We are four girls who
alternate whose home will host Thanksgiving. We all live in the same
city as my parents and there are a total of fifteen of us, all generations
included. The rule has been that the hostess sets the menu and doles
out one dish to each other sister to prepare. My mother makes the
pies as befits the eldest woman in the family. I love Chanukah but to
me Thanksgiving ranks second only to Passover as the ultimate family
holiday. I’d never think about tossing out the Haggadah for a book of
Easter stories, so why should I be expected to change my traditional
meal plan for some weird combination of events. Even to have wasted
an hour of my life arguing against “latke crusted turkey cutlets”
instead of a beautiful roasted bird given my crazy busy life is an
insulting waste of intelligence and time. Usually we get along pretty
well, but this has us stymied. Help, please, and fast!!

Hostess with the Mostest

Dear Hostess:

I’m enough of a traditionalist to want my holiday foods as I expect
them. Latkes for Chanukah and a stuffed turkey for T-day. Certainly a
Thanksgiving bird with all the trimmings is not too much to ask,
especially if you’d have to wait another four years to be in control of
the menu. So the first choice is this one: Do you care enough to fight
them all and win or do you want to offer to switch with next sister up
and rotate hostessing out of turn just this once. If yes, then let her
have the menu headache, and show up with what she assigns you and
keep quiet about the annoyance.

If not, and you want the party at your home, do the following. Send a
full menu to the whole family. Include all your Thanksgiving favorite
items as you would even if Chanukah were in January. But assign the
most troublesome sister to make latkes instead of mashed potatoes.
Assign a vegetable and a salad to the other two. Let them know that if
they can make them fit both holidays, great. If not, go traditional for
Thanksgiving. Light the candles while the whole family is assembled,
and be sure to give thanks for family when you give gratitude before
the meal.