Who Needs Thanksgiving When You Can Have Thanksgetting
I just heard that Macy’s and Sears will be open this year starting at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day. Which only means that Walmart, Target and Best Buy are just playing chicken waiting to see who can lower the bar even further by opening earlier. I can already see the news clips showing the desperate throngs of people who have skipped Thanksgiving all together because they have to wait on line starting at noon in order to get those ass-kicking door buster deals. Because having the biggest flat screen TV on the block is WAY more important than some ridiculous tradition of putting your head down to reflect upon our country’s humble beginnings. I mean, if Pocahontas had had a Best Buy near her, trust me she’d have said, “Hold the maize” and been camping out too.
I have so many contradictory thoughts on why my newly christened holiday of “Thanksgetting” is so wrong that I don’t even know where to begin. Is it because Thanksgiving has been completely eclipsed by the capitalist cocaine of more, bigger, cheaper stuff? Is it that no one really cares to spend time with their families and so being in a mosh pit hip-checking a bunch of crazed lunatics doesn’t sound all that bad? Is it that we all just eat to the point of exploding anyway so why not skip the whole obscenity and get your workout combat-style at Toys R Us? Or is it that no one even knows or remembers what the point of Thanksgiving was in the first place? As someone who tries to live every day in a state of semi-consciousness when it comes to buying stuff I have to say that Thanksgiving is the nausea-provoking nasty poster child for excess. Excess of traffic, of people, of eating, and now of spending money on more, more, more crap that no one really needs. What happens when an entire society shows its true colors in how easily it is lured away from the Thanksgiving dinner table and into the mall. Let’s be honest, every year we think there’ll be a breaking point or a low that cannot possibly be accepted by consumers only to have it breeze by without so much as a second glance as they run out the door headed for their cars, drumstick in hand. Can Thanksgiving brunch be far behind?
I don’t know. I do know that last year something miraculous happened. We unexpectedly had a very small Thanksgiving with just my sister-in-law and her family where she didn’t even get out of her sweatpants (it was just “us” after all) and it was one of the best we’d had in a LONG time. All of us hanging out, catching up, eating, drinking, laughing, popping the buttons on our pants as we lay around like slumbering bears. There was no pressure, no need to put on airs, no fanfare or dressing up, no fine china, no awkward uncomfortable weird shit. Just all of us. Enjoying each other’s company and watching a little football like someone had just sprinkled pixie dust on us and given us permission not to care. It was so easy and enjoyable and relaxed and surprising that I actually gave thanks. Somehow I feel like it was a cosmic reminder that on Thanksgiving we’re supposed to take it down a notch or two (or even three) and be grateful not just for the food bounty, but for the people around us who know our shorthand, who make us laugh, who mercifully allow us to be ourselves, and who we love. When the universe gives you that kind of gift, you MUST give thanks. And if I remember correctly, there wasn’t even a lot of traffic.