This time of year is always difficult for me. It’s not the changing of the clocks or the trees turning into skeletons or the driving home from work in the dark. It’s Christmas.
Please don’t misunderstand me – if there’s one season of the year I absolutely love, it’s Christmas. The songs, the movies, the cookies, the presents, the bows, the bells – you name it. If it’s red and green and jingles, I’m there. What irks me is the Christmas creep.
By October, Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye are already tap dancing across shelves of Walmart. Lights and bows adorn street lamps in early November, and the Christmas commercials have been on since August. There’s nothing wrong with a little Christmas cheer in any season – I’ve told you I’m no Scrooge. But what concerns me most is that in the midst of all the presents, the wreaths, the wrapping, the lists, the lights, the twinkling, the blinking, the trees, the chopping, the decorating – in the midst of all this – we forget about Thanksgiving.
Now I know Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to go hand-in-hand anyway, and I’m all for that. Sometimes, though, it seems like Thanksgiving just gets shut out, and, if you ask me, this doesn’t seem like the best time to be getting rid of a national-pride holiday. The dollar is weak, the government is in debt, half our country is depressed and the other half is obese. I don’t see how neglecting Thanksgiving helps that situation (aside from the obesity epidemic – it would definitely have a positive effect there).
The point is, Thanksgiving is unique; it’s wholesome; it’s American, and it shouldn’t be sidelined. Most importantly, it’s one of our purest holidays – one that hasn’t yet been overrun by presents, candy, or fireworks. It’s still about the most essential thing in life: Family.
Thanksgiving is about Grandpa’s stories and trips down memory lane. It’s about catching up and coming together. It’s about passing the mashed potatoes and starting arguments with loved ones. It’s about reminding those closest to us how much we care and repeating again that leaving at 2:30 means leaving at 2:30 – not 2:32, not 2:35, but 2:30 for God’s sake! It’s about carrying on family traditions, like raising your voice, making your point, shouting down others, and then making your point even more loudly.
Thanksgiving is about Mom’s pumpkin pie, Aunt P’s casserole, Aunt Sue’s potatoes, and that time Uncle Jack lanced a sebaceous cyst off your cousin’s neck just before everyone sat down to eat. It’s about making new memories and dredging up long-dead unpleasantries to leave a tension in the room that is nearly palpable. Thanksgiving is about love, and asking an entire table of our nearest and dearest relations why they don’t just shut up and go watch TV, because that’s all anybody wants to do around here anyway!
The holidays bring out the best in all of us, so this year, savor Turkey Day. Christmas can wait. It will be here soon enough, along with the stockings, the mistletoe, the presents, the fighting over the presents, the returning of the presents, the quarreling, the bickering, the cookies, the burning of the cookies, the cursing, the cards, the sending of the cards to a bunch of people you don’t like, the receiving of the cards from a bunch of people you don’t like, the questioning, the shouting, and all that good cheer.
Happy Thanksgiving – it only goes downhill from here.