Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Forgotten Holiday

No, I'm not talking about Labor Day which just passed. It's Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. I love Christmas and Halloween, too, just like most people, but those two have gotten so ridiculously commercialized and out of proportion that Thanksgiving is flat-out ignored which irritates me. I listen to Christmas music occasionally throughout the year, and I was ok with it when they started playing it the day after Thanksgiving. But now there are some stations that start the day after Halloween! Are you kidding me?

On the other hand, it's kind of nice that Thanksgiving hasn't gotten as out of control as those other two end-of-the-year holidays. I know some people who just turn off their lights and hide or go to the movies on Halloween so they don't have to mess with it. And so many people dread Christmas, there are a slew of books and movies about it like "Skipping Christmas". Thanksgiving has at least managed to avoid that negativity so far. Here are some of the reasons I love it:

1. It's message isn't completely lost.
Granted, a lot of people focus on the food and the football and the big sale the next day, but most people still remember, if not always acknowledge, the point behind it. Maybe it's easier since it's all in the name - it's a time to give thanks, count our blessings, be grateful. And in tough economic times like these, I think the purpose actually gets more attention and isn't overshadowed by concerns about having to spend a lot of money to make it a big celebration like Christmas can be.

2. I get to see all my family without as much stress as Christmas.
I actually don't get stressed about Christmas. I love it and try to remember the reason for the season. But others do get stressed, and it makes it more difficult for them to relax and enjoy the time we're together. That isn't the case with Thanksgiving. In fact, because there aren't really enough of us on my side of the family to warrant an entire turkey feast, last year we decided to buy a pre-made one at the local grocery store. A traditionalist at heart, I cringed at the idea initially, but since we've had to celebrate at my parents' house in the past because ours was too small, I let it go. We still made some favorite family side dishes, and I was pleasantly surprised about how well everything turned out. And so it was even less stressful than usual because no one was getting up at the crack of dawn to start cooking.

3. Ok, fine, you got me - the food!
I LOVE Thanksgiving food! What's not to like? Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green bean casserole, and, of course, pumpkin pie! Granted, in this day and age, you can pretty much get that kind of meal any time of year. But I never actually have it any other time. It's still special.

4. The games
Not the football. Well, some of it is ok. I like football - but one game a day is plenty for me. I don't mind having it on in the background. Kind of like starting the day with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. To watch the entire thing is a bit much, but it's nice to have it on while preparing food and getting ready. The same is true for the football games. After dinner, my side of the family likes to play board games, and we'll have football on the TV. The board games are what I look forward to. It's nostalgic and fun, and also not something I do much during the rest of the year.

And this year, I'm looking forward to celebrating at our house for the first time. Since we moved, we now actually have a dining room. Although, I will probably go with the pre-made meal again just this once since we'll have an extra special reason to celebrate, the birth of our second daughter. I'm scheduled to have a C-section on November 10th, so we'll be even more thankful on the 26th when we sit down to dinner and say Grace.

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