creative commons license
I've been in a bit of a blogging slump lately. Part of it is having some problems with Buddy Boy that are consuming some time and energy, part is just general busyness, and part is just not feeling like I had anything to say.
Kim over at MommyHood - The Adventures of Kim and Alex wrote an entry yesterday on The culture of too much, which I largely agreed with. She did a good job of highlighting how all the people that try to sell us stuff have over commercialized Christmas, and we (collectively) fall for this hook, line, and sinker. I like Kim's blog, as it is both real and funny as all get out. But one thing in her post got to me. She lumped my favorite holiday of the year, Thanksgiving, in with this.
First, Kim complains about traveling over Thanksgiving:
First, there’s too much travel. Too many lineups, too much need to travel from one of the country to the other for the weekend. If you ask anyone what time of the year that they wouldn’t want to be at the airport, it would be Thanksgiving weekend.
While I admit that flying over Thanksgiving is not something that ANYONE would like to do, what's so bad about people wanting to reconnect with family to celebrate and give thanks? I can think of lots of worse ways to spend a weekend. Too often we get caught up in our own little lives, and the day to day running about. It's nice to dedicate a day to getting together with loved ones, having a good time, and giving thanks for all the good that we have in our lives. In the past this meant going down the road to gather at a relative's house. Now it may mean driving hundreds of miles or flying thousands. Such is the byproduct of a very mobile society. But I see it as a good thing that we still make the effort to maintain these familial connections, even though greater effort is involved.
Next, Kim attacks the menu:
Then there’s Thanksgiving itself. Too much food, too much turkey, too much football. There’s a code that needs to be followed in order to have a proper Thanksgiving. Turkey? Check. Stuffing? Check. Cranberry sauce? Check. Pumpkin pie? Check. Do you eat these foods at any other time of the year, other than potentially Christmas? Probably not, because these are identified as Thanksgiving foods.
The Thanksgiving menu is one of my favorites. I would eat this menu every week, if I could. I would, however, then weigh upwards of 450 lbs (205 kg./32 stone). I'm always sorry when the leftover turkey runs out. Also the leftover pumpkin pie.
The menu of what Americans eat at Thanksgiving is also very regionally based. Although there are some staples (as mentioned above) that most people have, there are a lot of regional variations, both in what other items are on the menu, as well as how the items are prepared. I once heard a man interviewed on the radio that had studied this. He claimed to not only be able to tell you the region of the country you were in by what was on your Thanksgiving menu, in some cases he could pinpoint the actual county that you resided in. That's pretty impressive.
Sure, I overate with everyone else on Thursday. I know that that's not a good thing, from a health standpoint. But I see overeating with family one day a year a lot less harmful than the commercialization of Christmas.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that I don't have to worry about offending people. With Christmas, I always have to think first about wishing someone Merry Christmas, so as not to inadvertently offend them (if they're not Christian). With Thanksgiving, I have no such constraints. How can anyone object to being thankful?
Thanksgiving is the holiday that has been the least commercialized. Sure, it's good for the airlines and those who produce turkey and cranberry sauce. And Hallmark and others sell some greeting cards. But beyond that, there isn't very much commercial hype involved. In fact, I think that of all of our holidays, Thanksgiving is one that people from a hundred years ago would most identify as being similar to how they celebrated. So, you can diss what they've done to Christmas, but don't mess with Thanksgiving.