Thanksgiving is an odd holiday. It’s fake. At least in its current form in the U.S., it’s a manufactured holiday. Roosevelt went so far as to move the date in an attempt to help the economy by increasing the number of shopping days before Christmas. It has nothing in common with the original harvest festivals of our forefathers… otherwise we’d be having a yummy dinner of fresh water eel and corn. Even with all that, it’s still my favorite holiday.
If you can strip out all the commercialism, there’s just something about sitting down with family and friends for no purpose other than enjoying good food and giving thanks. The Christmas/Holiday season? Hate it. Always have. It’s phony, fake, driven by marketing and the 2,735 holiday commercials per minute we’re bombarded with. I lay in bed at night, stressed that I haven’t purchased the iNog EggNog maker for someone and for yet another year failed to get holiday newsletters out. What in the hell am I going to get Aunt Sophie for a grab-bag gift? The woman does nothing but watch approximately 22 hours a day of Judge Judy re-runs. The fifty-four pound box of Pepperidge Farm sausage seemed reasonable to me, but my wife thinks otherwise. Sigh… The pressure is unbearable.
Ah, but Thanksgiving. The only requirement is to relax, cook, and sit down with the people most important to you and eat. And talk. Share stories. Drink too many adult beverages and thank the deity of your choice that you’re at an age where you’re longer stuck at that rickety card table with the kids. And wallow in the knowledge that you have a free pass to eat an obscene amount of food. The calories don’t count on Thanksgiving. Extra gravy. That ridiculous yam dish with the marshmallows – on what other day of the year could you serve something covered in marshmallows and get away with it?
But most importantly, to give thanks. At some point during the dinner, sit back and just watch. Watch your family and friends eating, enjoying, talking, arguing over politics and sports. Simply being together. And give thanks that through an accident of birth you happen to be in a position to live where you do. That you don’t live in Sudan, or Somalia, or Afghanistan, or the poorest parts of India or China. That you do have food on your table, clothes on your back, and that Uncle Bob is free to slur his words and lament that those damn commie democrats won the election.
Because not everyone has this gift. But we do. So ignore for at least one day the looming commercialism of the “holiday” season, politics, the media, and all those cute cat videos on Facebook. Enjoy and be thankful for what you have – because as down and out as you might be, you’re not living in a mud hut in Ethiopia wondering where your next meal will come from.
And besides… we’re only a month away from the Mayan doomsday. And you know what that means, right? The coming zombie apocalypse. There’ll be no enjoying canned cranberries or Frenches green been casserole when fighting off the zombie hoards. I watch the Walking Dead, I know what’s coming. I don’t know about you, but I’m stockpiling fancy Jell-O molds in my bunker. And guns. Lots and lots of guns.
Have a happy Thanksgiving!