Source: The Boston Globe
On November 10, 2002 The Boston Globe reported that "the 'Hanukkah Bunny' is coming early this year. Laden with presents and sneaking into the house as quietly as, well, a famed rodent, the bunny will be hopping by close on the tail of the Thanksgiving turkey, making its first appearance on the evening of November 29... for Jews all through our Christmas-centric country, the timing of the holiday this year accentuates a cultural and religious divide. Hanukkah isn't Christmas - despite the cultural efforts to align the two into some general holiday season - and Christmas is awfully hard to ignore. So when Hanukkah falls close to December 25, it gains a good deal of its punch by serving as an alternative to Christmas. Coming in mid- to late December, it allows Jews to ignore the mainstream Christian holiday... Which also means that in years like this one, when the holidays are separated by almost a month, Hanukkah has a chance to regain its original form. When that first night falls, even if the gift buying and wrapping aren't done, Jews still say the prayers and light the candles, setting them in a window to serve as witness to a miracle of... faith."