5 Things I Love About Thanksgiving… The “Other” Holiday

White twinkle lights, evergreen boughs, colorful bulbs and bright, shiny paper parcels wrapped in red satin ribbon are all appealing to me. They truly are. But as I grow older, the gilded pageantry of Christmas has taken a backseat to the November holiday that I love even more.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.” Ann Curry proclaimed from inside of my television years ago when she was still on The Today Show. And I remember thinking how odd that statement was. How could anyone enjoy any holiday MORE than Christmas? Isn’t that something akin to blasphemy? Though as she explained her reasoning, I began to understand. And since that moment, I have looked at Thanksgiving in a whole new light.

You see Thanksgiving, to me, is everything that’s wonderful about Christmas without all of the crappings trappings of the Big Day. It is food and family and time off from work without all the shopping, running, spending and decorating. It is like a Christmas dress rehearsal without the pressure of ticket sales, a live audience, props and costume changes.

I don’t know if everyone else can say the same. Perhaps you’re Turkey Day is a real pressure cooker. But for this gal, I find it particularly blissful for the following, five reasons:

  1. It is a day for sleeping in because I am NEVER trusted to cook the meal. I usually bring the rolls… and believe you, me, it is best for everyone that way.
  2. It is a day for laughing with and corrupting my seven nieces and nephews without having to compete with various new iThings, Star Wars Legos or the latest CD by One Direction.
  3. It is the annual celebration of Carb Fest USA… a.k.a. the typical American Thanksgiving meal. Seriously, when else can you get away with serving at LEAST four starches in one sitting? A culinary scenario that includes stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, buttered rolls, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, pumpkin, pecan and cherry pie ALL chillin’ atop the SAME table at the SAME time = a Carboholic’s fantasy!
  4. There are no gifts required. And I am not listing this one as some stingy, selfish, shopping-hater (even though at times I can be). I mean that no money—other than that which was spent to prepare or provide the meal—was spent on more “stuff” that we probably don’t even need. No expectations were set other than that of gathering together, giving thanks and (hopefully) enjoying the company of those we hold dear.
  5. It is usually the day that ends with my family breaking out a copy of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and we all smoosh together in one room to watch and recite the entire thing — from Counsin Eddie’s dog named Snot and his infamous Crime of Fashion in the form of a black dickie… to fried felines, squirrels on the loose and Jelly of the Month clubs.

Whatever your Day of Thanks brings to you and yours this year, hopefully it includes some thankfulness (of course), some laughter, some love and at least ONE thing with whipped cream on top.

I am not operating under any delusions that I will ever BE this woman… but I like the idea of her.

Stating the Obvious

“You’d better bundle up today because it’s cold, Cold, COLD out there! Most areas are currently experiencing single-digit temps that aren’t expected to climb out of the teens until tomorrow!”  The way-too enthusiastic weatherman squawked at me from inside the TV.

Face buried deep in the pillow, half comatose and wrapped blissfully in my flannel sheets I groaned as I felt an overwhelming desire to violently hurl the remote at him.

“Studies show that this is the most miserable time of the year for Americans.”  The annoyingly chipper anchorman regurgitated immediately after the weatherman stepped down.

“No shit.”  I mumbled aloud as a peeled myself from the heavenly embrace of memory foam and goose down and set my feet on the cold, hardwood floor.

The anchorman continued.  “…With the holidays over and most people heading back to work after a long vacation, people report finding this time on the calendar to be the most difficult. Darkness still looming in the early morning, the frigid weather combined with poor driving conditions effects people significantly. Not to mention that the bills from the holiday season are already beginning to arrive adding even more stress to the average financially-strained citizen.”

“Well aren’t you a genius. Like I needed YOU to explain to ME why my current mood is creeping from ‘just a little blue’ ever closer to ‘murderous rage’.”  I spewed at him as I pulled on my robe and bitterly thrust my ice-cold feet into their slippers.

Mr. Brilliant then expressed that  “one individual we spoke to explained that she felt rudeness was particularly an issue during the actual holiday season this year so she can only imagine what it will be like now that the so-called ‘Season of Joy’ has come to an end.”

“Really?” I questioned in a flattened but sarcastic tone. “You only spoke to ONE individual? Perhaps you ought to pay me a visit. I’ll give you something to talk about. My focus would be on the phenomenon of bubble-headed news anchors stating the obvious and then going so far as to call it ‘news’.”

Perhaps this is the person they spoke to... Ain't she a peach?

A Little Low on “Ho Ho Ho”

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m having some trouble with Christmas this year. I am finding myself somewhat depleted of the whole “holiday spirit” and I really don’t know who or what to blame.

I have no real reason to be blue. I am gainfully employed, newly engaged and have a wonderful family and fiancé with which to spend the holidays. I am practically done with my shopping and proud to say that I didn’t go over board. I put up a sparkly tree along with a few other decorations and am in the process of wrapping. I’ve been watching some favorite Christmas flicks on TV… but that is precisely where the merriment ends.

I have no desire to listen to Christmas music, attend holiday parties or events. The lights going up around the neighborhood don’t captivate me or give me that “warm, fuzzy” feeling they once did. And I swear if I hear one more commercial about “that perfect gift” one more time — I am going to smash the offending broadcasting device with my hammer.

What is wrong with me? Did I lose my Christmas gene on my last birthday or something? Perhaps my “issues” with Christmas have nothing to do with an internal flaw and everything to do with the collective behavior of society. The emphasis placed on material items by manufacturers and the people who buy into it hook, line and sinker… The MUST DO mentality when it comes to certain “traditions”… The excess… The rushing and the rudeness of the masses…

I think what put me over the edge this year was an experience that I had this past weekend. We were doing some shopping at a store on the OSU campus. After deciding that we’d done all the damage we were going to do in that store before moving on to the next, we got in line at the register.

While waiting patiently for our turn, a tall, attractive woman dressed in all black bursts through the door, struts across the front of the store and rushes the counter, ignoring all of us waiting in line as she barks at the cashier: “You have a sweatshirt on reserve for me.” (Yes, I’ve intentionally placed emphasis on the word “me”).

We all turn our attention to her majesty—aware now of the faintest sound of crickets chirping in the background—while trying to comprehend this sudden display of rudeness and utter disregard for EVERYONE ELSE already in line at the counter. Now I know that this story is playing out all across the country right now, most likely coming to a register near you… but it was my first such encounter of the season.

Fortunately, the cashier asks the woman to wait while she finishes taking care of the customer with whom she is the middle of a transaction. And the woman huffs while she must wait like some wretched peasant. We pay for our items and leave the store around the same time as she. And we see that she has parked her shiny, black Lincoln Navigator right in front of the door.

As we back out of our parking spot I couldn’t help but notice a HUGE magnetic cling the size of a billboard on the side of her vehicle. It read in big white letters against a black background: “Don’t forget to keep the CHRIST in Christmas!”

Really? I thought to myself… And all this time I’ve been wondering where in the world my “holiday spirit” could possibly have gone.