Thanksgiving is an overrated holiday. There, I had to get it out. I have felt that way since my childhood. Now this might be a “hot take” for some of you, but perhaps a small minority will agree with me. Thus begins my ruminations on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Is An Overrated Holiday…Really!
Now before some of you diehard, Turkey-lovers, crucify me, here me out. I will endeavor to give concrete (or perhaps anecdotal) proof that Thanksgiving is an overrated holiday. Don’t look at what I say, let’s look at what society in general and advertisers tells us.
First of all, is there another day where you are encouraged to binge eat? Perhaps Super Bowl night and maybe Christmas a far 3rd, but Thanksgiving is all about a universal, vomitorium-worthy binge fest.
What is the first thing you think about vis-à-vis this holiday? A sumptuous cornucopia of food spilling over the dining table. We are supposed to sample and essentially engorge on every type of green bean casserole, dry turkey, stuffing and dessert that is offered.
So if there is a holiday that is synonymous with binging, should it be so hallowed? I think not, especially given our skyrocketing diabetes and obesity rates. So perhaps we should consume less food on Thanksgiving (unless we are practicing a 24-48 intermittent fast), but we all know that’s not going to happen. So binge away! Society wants you to do it and who are we, sheeple, to go against the zeitgeist.
Secondly, the food of Thanksgiving is so overrated. Turkey as a whole is dry, cranberry sauce (especially its gelatinous iteration slopped out of can) is horrendous, and everything is else is bland carb-centric drab. Why can’t the Thanksgiving staples be Green Curry or Chicken Tikka Masala? C’mon Puritans! India and Thailand had been “discovered” by then. You have no excuse.
I’m a teacher. Please help me understand why we need to take an ENTIRE week off for this holiday? Let’s take off Thursday and Friday so you can have the long weekend, but why the three other days? I hazard to guess maybe 5% of my students are travelling out of state or country where nine days off would be necessitated.
And why do we need a half-day for Wednesday? So you can get to the grocery story earlier? Isn’t education supposed to be paramount? If you are that lazy to wait until the last second to get your drab Thanksgiving food staples don’t put it on us. Let’s use those three extra days and go to school and then get out earlier in June? (Don’t get me started on why we need two weeks off for Christmas, sorry “Winter” break, especially Jan 2nd-Jan 8th.)
What “Big Advertising” Tells Us
If you need any more proof that Thanksgiving is an overrated holiday, let’s look at what Big Business and their “whores” on Madison Avenue tell us. We start selling Halloween merchandise in August. It makes sense given that Labor Day is not a real holiday and doesn’t have any accoutrement.
The day after Halloween (any good Catholic would know the true name of this day) does Big Business roll out the Thanksgiving accoutrement? Nope. We roll out the “Big Papi” of holidays: Christmas. Christmas candy and accoutrement is shoved in our face when it is still 85 degrees in much of the South. Why don’t they roll out Thanksgiving stuff? Exactly!
And here is another minor somewhat cogent as to how Thanksgiving is an overrated holiday. What is Thanksgiving’s accoutrement? Halloween has Jack O’ Lanterns, skeletons, and all those gaudy lawn inflatables plus the inordinate amount of candy to boot. Christmas boasts all the secular trappings which I don’t need to mention here, but what does Thanksgiving offer? Turkey napkins! Thanksgiving is arguable the oldest holiday in America and we couldn’t come up with more candy or accoutrement to play it up? C’mon FDR!
Learn How Big Food Uses “Food Porn” To Manipulate Us.
The biggest proof that Thanksgiving is an overrated holiday is Black Friday. When I was a lad, Black Friday didn’t even exist. Now it is more of a freak show holiday than Thanksgiving.
At least for a few decades the stores wouldn’t open until midnight. Now when do they open? 6:00pm or earlier. That is the most revelatory point. If Big Business thought Thanksgiving was a legitimate holiday they wouldn’t MOVE UP the beginning of their Moloch-loving true holiday, Black Friday.
In so many words they are saying “Hey, we know you are bored out of your gourd after the binge fest and there’s nothing else to do but watch pointless TV and pretend to like the extended family around you, so let’s get you out of the house to blow money you don’t have.”
If Thanksgiving was a legit holiday, wouldn’t it be more respected by having ALL stores closed on this “hallowed” day? We do it for Christmas; certainly we could do it again for Thanksgiving like when we lived in a Norman Rockwell painting.
And this is exactly my point. Thanksgiving is boring. You eat and then you eat more and then you eat more. Then what? Watch TV? I can watch TV any day!
At least the bonafide holidays have traditions that can pass the time. Christmas, you can play with your presents; Halloween, you have the august tradition of Trick or Treating. New Year’s Day, well we all know the true reason (or I should say need) for that “holiday.”
Now before you retort “Gregory, it is a day to give thanks.” I don’t need Lincoln or FDR or Big Advertising to tell me what day to give thanks. Just like I don’t need the latter to tell me what day to tell my mother, father, SO, pet hamster that I love them. (Maybe that’s why I don’t have an SO & I’m estranged from my family.)
Either way, we should give thanks every day! But that would necessitate praying to a God and now that we live in a post-modern “too cool for Christianity” society such a notion is antiquated or obscurantist. But hey, let’s give the atheists and agnostics some credit. You don’t find too many of them in a foxhole, but at least they will give some perfunctory token of thanks to the Big Bang Theory or whatever rationalized concoction they muster in their arrogant, pretentious heads.
Don’t get me wrong. Thanksgiving is a great day to have awkward conversations with extended relatives you don’t like, know, or barely tolerate. It’s a great day to watch NFL games most of which are not even competitive (why the perennially mediocre Lions & Cowboys still get a monopoly on this day I’ll never fathom). It’s a great day for antacid manufacturers and purveyors of alcohol.
But overall. Thanksgiving is an overrated holiday. Certainly we don’t need a week to “celebrate” it. It is stultifyingly boring. And most of all, given this is a holistic health website, why should we endorse a day that apotheosizes disordered eating? But we can always go to the movie theater. Movie theaters are the cock roaches of holidays. You can’t ever get rid of them.
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Call me a curmudgeon, octogenarian-esque cynic if you like. But I might be an honest, insightful curmudgeon, octogenarian-esque cynic.
Now pass me the pumpkin pie. I need to binge. After all, I was a morbidly obese child who emotionally ate to numb the pain. Thanksgiving was to me the perfect day to mask my disordered eating a kid, but hey that’s another blog for another time. Oh wait…I do have that blog, e-book, and podcast.
With the utmost sincerity, God bless and Happy Thanksgiving!