Saturday, November 13, 2010


Christmas is coming, I know and I'm excited, I love Christmas. But, um, what happened to anticipating, relishing, and, observing

Everywhere I look Christmas has all but obliterated Thanksgiving. The stores are decked with Christmas decorations and sweets, the blogosphere is teeming with advent calendar ideas and Christmas card anxiety, my inbox is overflowing with early Christmas shopping deals, and my to do list is brimming with Christmas related projects that have to be attended to posthaste.

Clearly, Thanksgiving is getting the shaft!

Everyone celebrates Christmas, but Thanksgiving is unique to America (okay, so Canada, Liberia and part of Norway have Thanksgiving too, but you get what I'm saying), it is special, it is all about joy and gratitude and friends and family, it is part of who we are as a people. It is not just a holiday from work and school, or a chance to eat oneself into a coma, or a reason to stay up until 4 in the morning with 1000s of strangers to get a good deal on a flat screen TV at Best Buy.

Maybe the problem is not everyone has a vested interest in Thanksgiving? I mean, I don't remember really participating in Thanksgiving dinner preparation until I was in High School. Somehow (PS, I actually do know how), it just magically appeared on the table and was consumed in 30 minutes flat. That's a lot of effort for a half hour. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a proud member of the "Food is Love" club, so I get laboring over a multi-course meal for hours, even days, only to have it disappear in minutes. But, I wondered recently, is that why we celebrate Thanksgiving, for the food?

Honestly? Probably.

Something has to be done, so this year we're starting some new traditions. We're focusing on the reasons for this holiday and truly celebrating the bounty of our harvest. We're talking a lot more about the people and things that make our lives pretty darn amazing. We're doing thankful crafts and playing gratitude games and trying to remember to give thanks every chance we get. Having small children around means you get a lot of do-overs. So, this year we're having one, a do-over. We're reinventing ourselves as thankful people who are grateful for more than homemade rolls and sausage stuffing (notice, I did not say "instead of," because, let's be honest, we're still grateful for the food).

So far? It's working. We're feeling pretty thankful. I hope these small changes we've made in our Thanksgiving observance will stick. I hope this means we'll be looking forward to future Thanksgivings for more reasons than pie, parades, and hours of football. Mostly, I hope we'll always remember to give thanks for Thanksgiving.

How do you remember to give thanks for Thanksgiving?


bwebster said...

You pretty much summed up my dismay. As far as I can tell, stores jumped from Halloween straight to Christmas. For cryin' out loud.

Me, I'm thankful that Sandra and I are flying to Paris the day after Thanksgiving. :-)

Becky said...

I love this post. Thanks. It gives me lots of ideas for things to do with my kids. I still have a hard time thinking about any holiday when it is 90 degrees outside but this helps.

Lauren in GA said...

Such a great post. It really is true. Thanksgiving always gets the shaft.

We made a Thanksgiving box one year. It was decorated nicely. You write down each year what you are grateful for and place it in the box. Then you add to it every year and look back on the things you were grateful for in years prior.

Adrianne said...

oh, I like lauren's idea! Please send your craft ideas, I need to do them. Frankly, after 4 years without thanksgiving, I don't really miss it. the meal that is. i do need more opportunities to be grateful. I was thinking a service project that weekend, any ideas?

Natalie C. said...

Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. I enjoy being thankful and I enjoy cooking & eating yummy food & being with family. :) I've been enjoying dusting off my gratitude journal & I'm trying to write every day in November.

My other comment- Halloween seemed leapfrogged to me when I went to Michaels about a week before Halloween & it was all Christmas stuff. But that must be because Halloween stuff was out in July!!

CStubits said...

Christmas does not, cannot start, until the day after Thanksgiving. At least in my world. I love, love Thanksgiving.

And, be prepared. Adam doesn't like it, but I expect to go around the table at Thanksgiving and have everyone say what they are grateful for in that year- kids too! :)

Tiana said...

I agree with you. Thanksgiving gets the shaft. I love Thanksgiving. The food, the family, and the very traditional -go around the table and say what you are thankful for- before dinner. Last year I started a thanksgiving chain (a link for everything you are thankful for-things written on it.) but I think it got trashed in the move.

I think Thanksgiving sets the perfect mood for Christmas. It definitely should NOT be skipped.


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