On Oct. 31, the streets were covered in fat little toddlers dressed up as princesses, Iron Man and Batman. Teenagers and young adults put on skimpy outfits, and a general atmosphere of frivolity was in the air. Parents loaded up on candy and turned up the heat, preparing for the onslaught of greedy little hands.
On Nov. 1, Christmas decorations go up. Aren’t we forgetting something? Oh yeah, a whole other holiday.
Thanksgiving is like the redheaded middle child of end-of-year holidays. Nearly everyone loves Halloween, like the youngest child who makes a lot of trouble, but is so charming and fun that all the shenanigans are overlooked. Christmas is anticipated eagerly, like the oldest child who has moved out, but brings little trinkets whenever they visit. Thanksgiving is that emo kid in the corner, writing pseudo-intellectual poetry in a moleskin notebook and wishing someone would just understand them in all their complexity.
And really, Thanksgiving is the least stressful of the three big end-of-year holidays. It doesn’t require a stupid costume — which can cost anywhere from a few dollars spent at the DI to hundreds thrown away renting some elaborate getup which will only be used one, maybe two nights — and people don’t have to blow tons of money on presents. On Thanksgiving, people sit, eat, sleep and might even watch football.
Some might be saying, “Yeah, but you don’t know my family. They are crazy, and Thanksgiving is just one more excuse for them to unleash that crazy.” Pony up, cowboy. We all have crazy family. If they’re really that bad, eat yourself into a food coma and be done with it.
One of the aspects of Christmas that so easily creeps into Thanksgiving’s territory is the much-debated Christmas song. How early is too early to start playing them on the radio? Nov. 1 is too early. Where is the month of Thanksgiving-related songs? Wouldn’t it be nice to hear someone besides Adam Sandler sing about turkey-lurkey-loo? Couldn’t Lady Gaga at least incorporate mashed potatoes in her next hit?
Commercialism might be an answer as to why Thanksgiving is overlooked. It is probably difficult to market a line of turkey-Transformer-Barbie action-figure doll things. Children don’t usually wake up at 5 a.m. to unwrap cranberry sauce and rolls. And it isn’t very common to see a Thanksgiving tree, decked out with sweet potato ornaments, strings of green beans and lights in the shape of bowls of stuffing, and topped with a mini-turkey.
Arguably the biggest victims of Thanksgiving-amnesia are the malls. Many have already started setting up for Santa, with faux-North Poles, creepy oversized dolls, elves with weird shoes and youngsters having conniptions over an overweight bearded man asking them to sit on his lap. Not only are these children being lied to; they are being trained to sit on the laps of men offering candy, as long as the man is heavy and has the ability to grow a large, white beard. What if children had to sit on the lap of a turkey for Thanksgiving and ask for the dishes they wanted served at the feast? It’s much safer for them to trust turkeys than strange men.
Besides the decorations and the music, the impending Christmas holiday seems to have a curious effect on the driving ability of the general public. It’s as if everyone becomes so blinded by their Christmas lists and so paranoid by snow — that fluffy white junk we haven’t seen in nearly a year — that they revert back to the driving habits they had as first-year drivers. Thanksgiving never seems to do this to people, unless alcohol has been added to the mix.
In summary, Christmas equals insane children, bad driving, overbearing commercialism and mind-numbing platitudes put to music. Thanksgiving equals good food, family time and relaxation. Where is the disconnect? Why push the Christmas season up a month? This year, keep holidays in their appropriate months and don’t forget the turkey.