This won’t be my normal funny post. Just so you aren’t surprised later.
Thanksgiving is slowly dying. Christmas season now starts before Halloween. By Thanksgiving, the trees are up and the lights are on. Jingles fill the air and commercials fill the airwaves. Black Friday starts on Thursday at WalMart, further burying my favorite holiday under the tinsel and shiny paper of its neighbor. How can a black hat with a belt buckle on it ever compete with the glitz of Christmas, with the crinkle of wrapping paper being torn off to reveal what? A new iPhone? A pair of slippers? The latest gaming system, at least 20% better (if not 20% more expensive) than the last?
In contrast, Thanksgiving is known mostly as a meal. Meals have their own magic, not in the now-you-see-me-now-you-don’t fashion of Santa Claus or David Copperfield, but in the magic of food prepared with love. The magic of the hearth, of knowing that you are home, that you are loved. The magic of no expectations. No worries about whether someone will like the gift you got them, or if you’ll like what you get.
Everyone you love is there, and everyone is welcome to celebrate Thanksgiving. No particular religion is necessary (nor any religion at all). While considered an American holiday, being an American is not necessary (after all, those at the first Thanksgiving were immigrants).
The menu is generally set by tradition, with room for customization. The traditional elements bind us together with enough room for each family to put their own stamp on the event. The Thanksgiving meal is work, to be sure, but work that fuels (and is fueled by) love. The Thanksgiving meal is the gift that means that much more because of the effort put forth. The meal gives you time to reflect, to reconnect, to show your appreciation to those around. Undistracted by a flurry of gifts, glanced at for a moment before being tossed aside and replaced with another, Thanksgiving allows you to claim a few moments of peace and love.
I hope that for a day, we all take a break from our daily routine and reflect on the great gifts we all have: Our friends, our families, our homes, our communities. If you are reading this, you are likely better off than most people on the planet. You can sacrifice going to WalMart just this once, can’t you? If enough of us agree, than maybe Thanksgiving will rise from the ashes to once again claim its place, and ask his noisy neighbor to turn things down, just for a day.