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So Many Thanksgivings

November 25, 2015

How many Thanksgiving meals will you be attending this year?

Something weird is happening to our holidays. Much like Halloween, which can sometime extend to well over a week and include both the weekend before and after the holiday, Thanksgiving has slowly expanded to be a much bigger holiday.

On the flip side, it would also seem that Thanksgiving is also at risk of being entirely eaten up by Christmas now that Black Friday officially starts on Thursday. But perhaps that’s one of the factors that is pushing more and more people to celebrate our national gut busting bacchanalia on additional days of the week.

So maybe it’s also a good question to ask when do you officially celebrate the holiday?

My extended family celebrates on Saturday. We’re all getting together in Connecticut where Aunt N will host and make that amazing stuffing which I love so much. Cousin S will knock my socks off with cured meats and cheeses from Philadelphia. I’ll try to knock his socks off with similar items from Albany.

But usually we do some kind of small dinner on Thursday itself which has a flavor of the holiday with just the immediate family. That typically looks like a roast chicken with stuffing, gravy, and cranberry sauce. Perhaps I’ll buy a pumpkin pie and a can of whipped cream.

This year, however, my immediate family will be split up on Thursday. Little Miss Fussy will be in Providence with her Gramma. Around the dinner table, she’s the only other person who “lives to eat”. The other two members of the Fussies are decidedly on team “eat to live”.

It seems like we may have a Thursday Friendsgiving in Troy this year, which will be fun. Even though I understand Friendsgiving to be more of a Wednesday night phenomenon.

Then there are the people who have multiple families they have to visit on Thanksgiving and turn the day into a roving feast. Maybe it’s going to their parents house for a Thanksgiving lunch and their in-laws for a Thanksgiving dinner. Although some folks party hop from place to place doing the meal with one side of the family, and eating dessert with the other.

It seems like a recipe for stress and disaster.

Of course, there are always people who spend the holiday alone. Sure, they would make perfect volunteers to help feed the homeless or take care of the needy. But that’s not for everyone. Neither is spending the holiday at a strip club, but Deanna Fox just wrote a piece about the community of exotic dancers, and the free thanksgiving dinner their club offers to the lonely hearts of the region.

A very small part of me laments the bygone days of the old-fashioned hard-line approach to celebrating the holiday on the holiday itself and doing it once. Sure, it required making hard choices. Maybe you would have to only see your family every other year. Maybe someone you loved wouldn’t be able to make it. But deciding where to spend Thanksgiving, and the challenge to make it there on time, were part of what made the day so special.

That said, when push comes to shove, I would rather have Thanksgiving surrounded by my extended family on Saturday, than anything else. And that’s my hard decision. I have to say, this makes me thankful for holidays that are longer than just one day. Speaking of which, Chanukah is coming. The first night is December 6.

But first things first. That means there will be no holiday shopping for the Fussies until Thanksgiving is fully, totally, and completely over. No Black Friday for me. I’ll even miss Small-Business Saturday.

Cyber Monday, here we come.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Billy permalink
    November 25, 2015 12:38 pm

    You are correct that the Holiday’s are getting longer. I’m convinced this is due to the secularization of America over the last 50 years or so. The watershed moment being when prayer was banned from public schools in the early 60’s.

    The religious view holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas as Holy days. They are for the purpose of worshipping God. To give thanks to God for his many blessings, and honor the birth of Christ, respectively. (For the purpose of clarity, Holy means “set apart”, not pious, i.e., those days are special days).

    But for the secular, there is no concept of the Holy. Rather, holidays are merely an excuse to get time off from work and party with family and friends. Thus, as the country has become more and more secular, the months of November and December are becoming more and more, one long party.

    “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we may die!” is the secular mindset. The religious however, have a more transcendent view of the holidays and they were celebrated as such.

  2. Mr. Dave permalink
    November 25, 2015 3:33 pm

    Now it is time for my traditional comment insulting that warm fruit-salad recipe that you call “stuffing.” As stuffing may be the centerpiece of the T-giving meal, so should bread be the centerpiece of a stuffing recipe. The glory of bread moistened by meat nectar should not be sullied with gratuitous fruit and sausage. Fie. Fie I say.

    I am the Cato of stuffing, defender of the ancient tradition of good and moral stuffing. You sir, are Ceaser. A stuffing tyrant. A lover of degenerate stuffings.

  3. November 25, 2015 7:42 pm

    Due to my move out to CA and my sister living in New Zealand, I don’t see my family at the holidays now. I have some friends out here and we are getting together for a meal tomorrow. I’m making a sweet potato dish. It won’t be the same. I’m spending Christmas by myself and will probably go to bed early on NYE again like the last 2 years. I don’t really enjoy the holidays anymore.

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