Monday, November 25, 2013

Don't Let Thanksgiving be Run Over

Everyone has seen a version of this classic comic, but nothing has changed.
This past September, I was walking my dog past my neighbor's apartment, and my dog started growling in their direction. I look over to see a plastic reindeer on their patio. "Great", I thought, "We can add plastic animals to the list of inanimate objects my dog is afraid of." But then I paused. "It's SEPTEMBER. Why is there a reinde.......: as I looked more, I realized there were cling snowflakes on the window. Candy cane lights in the bush. And a fully decorated Christmas Tree clearly visible inside their home.

As I pulled my antler-fearing dog away from the scene, and wore off the shock, I officially decided my neighbors were nuts. 3 months before Christmas?!? Their decor will be up for 1/4 of the year! I pass this apartment every day, and while my dog has finally gotten used to the reindeer, I realized I was getting more and more annoyed. Actually, more than that. I was angry.

It took me a while to realize this anger. What was it even towards? Not my neighbor. They are crazy, but seemingly harmless. It wasn't about the commercials already chiming holiday tunes, as obnoxious as that is. Heck, it wasn't even how the black hole of Black Friday is slowly, year after year, sucking in it's preceding day for more hours of petty fighting. That's a whole other debatable beast.

No, I was angry for November. Not at it, for it. It's my birth-month, so I've always been partial to it. Yet somehow it has become only a speed bump in America's hurry from Halloween to Christmas. While somewhere, wrapped up in it's crunchy leaves, lies a holiday fighting for room.

Thanksgiving. It's not a huge day in my family (though I'd like to change that with my new budding family). But I truly feel that it is one of the most important American holidays of the year. A holday that's skipped over, time and time again. It's barely a blip on the American radar. Sure, everyone celebrates it. People (who can) go home to their loved ones to stuff their faces and maybe watch the big game. But why does society as a whole press the gas pedal, flattening this important holiday into oblivion?

This is why:
Thanksgiving cannot be commercialized. It will not be commercialized.

And this capitalist society resents it for that. There are no cards or candy. No flowers or gifts. No eggs to decorate or costumes to wear. No overpriced fireworks. Thanksgiving cannot be sold. There is no profit to gain. Thanksgiving is, at it's essence, being happy with what you have, right now. And no one can capitalize on that ideal. So society crowds it. Breathes down it's neck. Tries their best to make Thanksgiving uncomfortable by trading costumes and ghouls with ornaments and trees. By placing the most selfish day of the year right next to it. But wait! Why stop there? They go and decide that Black Friday isn't big enough, so they steal hours from the hemorrhaging holiday itself. Apparently, going the other way into the weekend doesn't appear greedy enough. They like greedy. They want greedy.

So my call to action is simple. Give thanks. Acknowledge your blessings. Cherish the memories. Whether you are surrounded by your crazy extended family while sneaking a forkful of pie, or you are far from home, but surrounded by friends who all brought their favorite dishes. If you have a little fight in you, help keep Black Friday on, well, Friday. Hang those Christmas decorations after Thanksgiving. Christmas is awesome, and represents so much to so many different people. But let's not desensitize ourselves of the holiday. Don't let it take over a quarter of our year. If we keep it short, it will be all that much sweeter and enjoyable when it does finally come. And then, we can finally give Thanksgiving, and the whole month of November -with it's colorful leaves and crisp air - the respect it deserves.

With pie. Lots and lots of pie. :)

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