Somewhere in between Halloween and the various other December holidays is my favorite of America’s Q4 celebrations. It is a day when I get up early to cook lots of food, which I hope will be consumed by lots of people so that I do not have to store the leftovers and make my family complain about having to eat recycled food (“It’s good for the environment and okay for you.”)1 for the next several days.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Thanksgiving. It is one of the few holidays that hasn’t been over-commercialized and over-politicized. It is not a day of greed and covetousness like Halloween or Christmas, but one of gluttony and sloth (except, perhaps, for those of us who have to wash the dishes). Family and friends get together to cook and eat food, share mirth and merriment and watch parades and football — Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions (12:30pm, EST) and Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys (4:15pm, EST). And, as we enjoy all of these Earthly delights and indulgences, we might even just take the time to count our blessings and find it in our hearts and minds to be grateful for what we have, instead of lamenting what we do not.
This year I noted that the usual Pagan artifacts called “Christmas decorations” and other ubiquitous multicultural holiday items and symbols associated with the numerous feasts, festivals and festivities surrounding the Winter Solstice began appearing in the retail outlets just before October 31. It was difficult to find Autumn, turkey and Pilgrim-themed linens and accents among the garish displays of cheerful red, green and gold articles commingled with leftover orange, black and purple horror movie cliches.
I could grumble about Thanksgiving being taken for granted, but Thanksgiving is a time for thanks so I will be grateful because the paltry retail shelf space means that Thanksgiving remains relatively free of the burdens of ostentation and the crassness of conspicuous consumerism. I will also appreciate how the lack of political or religious controversies (I’m sure someone somewhere is complaining about something, but nobody else seems ready to really listen or care) demonstrates that Thanksgiving is virtually impermeable to the forces of commercialization and politicization. Retailers can’t figure out how to oversell it and politicians can’t find a way to exploit it.
I suppose that I should also be happy that I only have to go to one store to hunt and gather for the big day. I already have an autumnal tablecloth, turkey-shaped salt and pepper shakers and Pilgrim figurines. My annual Thanksgiving holiday shopping will consist of obtaining the overflowing cartload of groceries I will require to prepare my sumptuous Thanksgiving banquet of roast turkey with my best stuffing, mashed potatoes and my special gravy, cranberry sauce, mixed vegetables, biscuits and pumpkin pie. I’m thankful (and kind of hungry) already!