Yes it’s a holiday and yes I am grateful but I thought I would take this moment to tell you a few things that I hate about Thanksgiving. These are my personal pet peeves but really I wonder if anyone else feels the same way I do about the holiday? You decide:
1) Oh now you’re nice? – Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every other day they cut us off in traffic; they flip us off in traffic; they are grumpy, egotistical, indignant and mean. People are fake, pretentious and insincere most days of the year but incredibly they want us to believe that they are good people when they sit around and tell everyone what they are thankful for which makes it harder to comprehend their actions 344 days of the year and harder still to digest the turkey.
2) Black Friday – nothing says ‘I’m a self-centered lush’ like rushing to a store after satisfying my food lust to satisfy the ingratiated selflessness we have cultivated thanks to this abhorrent practice of extravagance. “But he/she will be so sad if we don’t buy this and he/she will be upset on Christmas if it’s not this,” we tell ourselves but really it’s about having the best of everything so that we can tell ourselves we are good people. Try this on for a change – how about we stop raising little jerks by teaching ourselves and them to be less avaricious and more grateful for the things that matter. You know, little things like breathing clean air, having ghastly warehouses chock full of ungodly amounts of food, clothing and gadgets.
3) We ignore history – the holiday may have started with the inaugural feast between the Mayflower pilgrims and local Native American tribes in New England but its significance in American history does not end there. Thanksgiving played a substantial role each year during the years of the American Revolution and President George Washington issued a Thanksgiving day proclamation asking Americans to give thanks for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution and for the conclusion of the war for independence. All succeeding Presidents thereafter asked for a similar day of thanks until Abraham Lincoln’s administration made it a national holiday in 1863 as a means to heal our embattled country at the height of the Civil War. Ask any kid on the street why we celebrate Thanksgiving and the answers may surprise you but seldom will they include any of the above references.
4) We eat too much – this is hard to admit because I really love to eat but more and more Thanksgiving has become about engorging on the bounty and a yet less and less each year is mentioned about the appreciation of a hearty meal when others are scraping by. I hate the way I feel when my belly is distended and I hate the way I feel when I think about all the people who won’t be enjoying a good meal – two things I will do better at this year.
5) We love to fight – you would think that a holiday with a title like Thanksgiving would stimulate something within our humanity to set aside resentment and loathing for loved ones and concentrate instead on nurturing relationships. Instead we go to an obligatory family gathering to sit in a corner and surf porn on our handheld device, or read a book that you aren’t interested in or even sit in your car until the turkey is carved and the gravy is on the table before you slip in for a slice and slip out before you unload and cause a scene. Some people go looking for a fight; most people go, knowing that there is going to be a fight. A bad attitude will not affect a good outcome.
In all honesty, I love Thanksgiving and what it stands for; what it was meant to remind us about as a nation and as a people. The frustration lies in the things that we fabricate to overwhelm us, the things that we create to occupy and steal from the true essence and basis of the holiday. I’m perturbed by the overindulgence, overextension of resources and the overcomplicated way that we approach a holiday that is meant for the simple and enjoyable purpose of being grateful for the indispensable things in our lives, not the extravagant.
Giving thanks this holiday weekend is for me expressed in the words and deeds of love spoken and shown to my family, my God, my friends and the world. Giving thanks can be amplified on Thanksgiving but it should always be our nature to be grateful year round so that Thanksgiving becomes exactly what its meant to be – a day in which we celebrate our gratitude for the things that matter most.