Sunday, November 15, 2009


" This is the time of year I start to feel like Thanksgiving has just become a quick meal on the way to Christmas. What happened?

"Thanksgiving has lost its cultural muscle," writes Eric Felton in aWall Street Journal commentary today. He adds, "The early advent of the Santa season may have less to do with the red-and-green imperative than with the weakness of Turkey Day."

His assessment of the state of Thanksgiving in the 21st century is worth reading:

Could it be we've lost our capacity for gratitude? A successful harvest occasioned thanks back when it was all that stood between us and a long, cold, hungry winter. But now we're divorced from the seasonal rhythms of the farm, where the harvest is celebrated as the payoff of all the year's labors. Even in the midst of this Great Repression we enjoy perpetual plenty. What resonance does a cornucopia have to people who have come to expect ripe blackberries in February? If anything, we should be more grateful, but that's not our nature. Anything we struggle for, we hold dear; anything that comes easy, we take for granted.

He goes on to capture the awkwardness of trying to enjoy a family feast when some of those around the table just want to moralize about the food:

Not only don't we celebrate the astonishing abundance that is our good fortune, we whine and moan about how it makes us fat.... And if that weren't enough to squeeze the pleasure from the day, no modern Thanksgiving is complete without a college student home from school, lecturing the family on the cruelty of meat. (To which the only appropriate response is: "Does that mean you don't want the drumstick?")

He ends with an invitation to enjoy a little more of the goodness of autumn and Thanksgiving before diving into Christmas:

... before we break out the ornaments and dust off the Vince Guaraldi soundtrack, let's make the most of autumn and its particular pleasures. Jump in a pile of leaves. Savor the waning daylight. And go ahead. Week after next, eat that second slice of pumpkin pie—just be thankful for it."

It made me sad. 

I always write about Thanksgiving.  Probably because it's my favorite holiday. 
How did this come about?  I remember when I was younger going down to So-Cal every Thanksgiving to spend it with my dad's side of the family.  I remember it being boring, watching TV.. but I also remember the delicious food.  (which got more delicious after the year we convinced my dad to tell the relatives to STOP trying to cook Thanksgiving food but let US do it instead).

I enjoy how my family gets together and makes sure we have EVERYTHING for the meal.  I love how we cook together.  I like the merriment.  ..  What makes me sad is at our family, it's really uncool to be thankful.  If one person tries to increase thankfulness, that's my mom.  If another person tries to echo gratitude, then everyone sort of scorns or laughs at them.

I wish my family was more transparent about emotions like love and gratitude.  I wish we were more positive growing up.  i wish we wouldn't trivialize things by laughing at it, ridiculing it, scorning it, or making light of it and brushing it off. 

I think i forget that during thanksgiving no one is very sincere about what they're thankful for.  i think i forget that during thanksgiving people are suspicious and closed off about what to share.

Wow, that took an unexpected turn!

Ultimately, it's difficult for me as a person to make myself vulnerable to my family because it's so easy to get hurt that way.

I still like Thanksgiving though; because despite the gruffness and harsh words, i still know i'm good at what i do and that my family appreciates that.  conversely, my family members also know they are good at what they contribute and they know i appreciate that.  i think.

Lastly thanksgiving has that aura of family and thankfulness without the stress of presents, socializing, not getting what you want, getting what you don't want etc etc etc.  along with the pressure of making sure "Jesus is the reason for the season" yet also feeling incredibly hypocritical because Christmas is also the most emotional, rubbed-raw season of the year.

WOW i sound so Scrooge-y.

More on this later.  I just wanted to comment on the first part.  I'm sad the holiday of Christmas (not the real Christmas) is overshadowing Thanksgiving.

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