Ah, the yesterdays of Thanksgiving.
When I was a kid, every year we celebrated the end of the year trifecta. You know, after the drudgery and woe of school beginning, we looked forward to Halloween, Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and each of those holidays included house-wide decorations, everything from store bought items to things we kids made ourselves in school. Do you remember the turkeys made from your hand print? The construction paper pilgrim hats? The colorful corn cobs that hung on the door?
So… it was just me, then.
Thanksgiving was a great holiday. However, as the popularity of Halloween and Christmas grew, it squeezed down Thanksgiving to “that day where we're forced to go to Auntie's house – but, hey, it's only once a year.”
Here's why Thanksgiving's gone away: We do such big shows with Halloween and Christmas (lights and animatronics and trees and sound and parties and on and on) that, frankly, we're too tired to be bothered with that third one, the one that's crammed in the middle. Face it. Due to our absolute exhaustion, Thanksgiving got reduced to a day of football, big eats, and coupon clipping for tomorrow's big sales.
There are those who claim we should get rid of Thanksgiving; that it's just a way to make ourselves feel good about the colonization of America so we can forget the subsequent annihilation of the Native American population. Hard to argue that.
However, we aren't the only country that celebrates Thanksgiving. Canada also has a holiday where they take a break, gather the family, and give thanks for all they have – no “Indians” involved in their bit of history. In fact, six other countries, Germany, Japan, Grenada, Liberia, The Netherlands, and Norfolk Island, have some kind of Thanksgiving festivity. Sometime in the fall, after the harvest, they gather with friends and family and food, all to be grateful for what they have.
It's time to restore this poor holiday, or at very least, celebrate it for what it was intended to be. Thanksgiving. I'm sure, if most of us look at our lives, our families, and our friends, we consider ourselves more than just lucky. We're crazy advantaged, crazy blessed, and crazy fortuitous. That deserves more that one day, or one meal. It deserves a bit of time for planning and preparation. It deserves a little decorum and decoration. It deserves some thoughtfulness and introspection. Be that at home, or at your job, or in all the malls across America.
Take a little time to remember why we're celebrating it at all. No, I don't mean the pilgrims. I mean you. Your achievements. Your abilities. Your life.
That's the best reason to be thankful.