Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving: the most underrated holiday of the year

Thanksgiving has the unlucky spot of being between Halloween and Christmas. But Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays out there. It gets overlooked all the time because of everyone's insanity when it comes to Christmas.

In the old days no one even mentioned Christmas until the day after Thanksgiving. Christmas music did not get played until then. Malls would decorate for Christmas the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and finish up on Black Friday. Santa would show up right after thanksgiving as well. Thanksgiving was it's own holiday and it had respect. Now Christmas stuff replaces Halloween on November 1st. Christmas movies that normally did not arrive until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving now were showing up the first friday after Halloween. Christmas music has started on local radio stations at least a week before Thanksgiving. Advertisements on TV are now all about Christmas. Christmas is the popular big brother, Halloween is the spoiled younger child, and Thanksgiving is the cliched Middle child. And that is wrong.

Yes Thanksgiving is an American holiday. Most countries have a version of Thanksgiving, but it rarely overlaps with America's version. But we are Americans and this is our TV we are watching, our music we are listening to, our movies we are seeing. We should treat it has an American holiday and get it's popularity back instead of jumping right into Christmas as most of the world does.

I love Thanksgiving. It's not flashy like the other holidays, but it is still a very nice time, and until recently it was the point where I really started to get excited for Christmas because I knew that starting on Black Friday the Christmas season officially started. We would start seeing Christmas ads, Christmas tv, Christmas movies, listening to Christmas music. Now when Thanksgiving arrives, the excitememt of Christmas is not as prevalent since we have been knocked over the head with it.

Nowadays I really like it because it is a 4 day weekend, and I get to spend time with family and just rest. I've also had a lot of good memories of Thanksgiving. When I was younger and my parents were still together Thanksgiving always meant going to my Grandparent's house down in Oxon Hill Maryland near Andrews Air Force Base right outside of DC and Virginia. Most of the time my cousins and Aunt and Uncle from New Jersey would come down and we would have a good time. My grandfather who loved making fires in the fireplace would have one roaring for us, we would watch Football, when not watching tv we would play football in my grandparents yard or hide and seek in their upstairs. I remember one year I ate so many Andes Candies that I threw up. Now I never eat Chocolate and mint anymore. I tried radishes for the first time their before also. But as we all were getting older and my folks soon split, we would go to New Jersey for the Thanksgiving weekend. I remember one year getting terribly sick during Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle's house. My stomach was so bad that on Black Friday when we decided we wanted to go to the mall and I wanted to go with them to get out of the house I could only walk hunched over. Now I know that sounds like a horrible Thanksgiving, and it was, but it was memorable. There was also the year of the snowstorm on Thanksgiving day (when we usually drove up) and the car in front of us spun out into a 360 and almost hit our car. But we got lucky.

When I was in College we stopped going up to NJ and stayed home. Sometimes we went to my Grandparents, but at this time they were in the twilight of their lives and not doing so well. In 1993 my sister got married on November 20th. She had a Thanksgiving style wedding dinner. So when Thanksgiving hit the next week, we ate Italian. Once I graduated and was still living at home, we stayed home and did a no fuss Thanksgiving dinner so I got to watch a lot of TV. At that time SYFY (which was the Sci-Fi channel at that time) aired Mystery Science Theater 3000 that was a classic show and set the stage for my involvement with the SnarkAlecs. It was a show about a guy and two puppets who watched really bad movies and made comments about it. Funny as hell comments. On Thanksgiving Sci-Fi always did a marathon Turkey movies for a Turkey day.  It was also around that time for the first time ever I saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and The Godfather and The Godfather Part 2. Because other channels ran marathons also and I finally watched these and enjoyed them. Football was still around as well.

One constant throughout all the Thanksgiving's is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, an annual ritual that I always watched and still watch. Here in Maryland we also had the Turkey bowl, Loyola vs Calvert Hall high School football (huge rivalry) and before they stopped doing it on Thanksgiving (City vs. Poly) another huge local high school football game. 

And surprise Comics also had an impact on Thanksgiving. I remember reading Gotham by Gaslight on Thanksgiving at my aunt's house (the year I got sick it just came out with art by one of my fave artists Mike Mignola). Paul Dini and Alex Ross would produce a fully painted big size graphic novel every Thanksgiving week and they were all gorgeous.

Recently the day after Thanksgiving has been the time that my wife and I take our kids to the Festival of Trees, a great event that helps give money to Kennedy Krieger a group that helps sick children. Local companies commision artists to decorate Christmas Trees and make them as artistic as possible and then sells them with all proceeds going to Kennedy Krieger. They also have vendors selling things, Christmas choirs, Celebrity Christmas story readers, a huge train garden, Santa Claus, a kids area with Pony rides, bouncy houses, Carousel's, and crafts. A great event that gets you into the Christmas spirit, the day after Thanksgiving. it goes all weekend so you can hit it at any time.

It is just a pleasant all around time of the year with the only stress being self imposed if you have issues with your family. Otherwise it is just a pleasant meal, good company, and fun. And hopefully relaxiation for those who don't go Black Friday shopping. The food is always good, the drink is always good. And you have leftovers that last awhile. It is purely and simply FUN. No huge anticipation that brings you down after it is done like Halloween and Christmas, there is no real build up to Thanksgiving it is just there. And it is wonderful. The day after Thanksgiving you can go all the Christmas crazy you want, but til then please give Thanksgiving some props.

The Thanksgiving Song from Adam Sandler.

No comments:

Post a Comment