Whither Thanksgiving?

I LOVE Thanksgiving. With my family, it was always a holiday devoted to eating. And eating family recipes with unique traditions. I love Thanksgiving because it is a holiday I can bring my own family traditions and history to. I even have a relative who came over on the Mayflower. So many of the holidays we celebrate now with Darcy I don’t have a childhood connection to.

Nothing in the world tastes better to me than my parents’ cooking. My parents are arriving for a visit right after Thanksgiving, so I won’t be able to enjoy their special cheese biscuits and the best mashed potatoes and gravy EVER. This year, I’m BRINGING mashed potatoes to Thanksgiving at my in-laws because the twins enjoyed them so much at my parents’ house last year.

I remember growing up thinking that Thanksgiving was a THING. After Halloween, there was a lead-up to the big MEAL. Thanksgiving reminds me of hikes through the gold and vermillion trees on Shady Lane while my Mom’s turkey cooked. We bundled up in big scarves and enjoyed the crisp autumn air.

This year especially, I have noticed that November now seems to be relegated to Christmas, too. I wonder why that is? I remember the day after Thanksgiving my mom would put on the Nutcracker album and we’d trundle off to The Village and deal with battles over parking spaces because we needed to get our packages off to my grandparents by December 7. But we never decorated or listened to music before that.

I’m not particularly annoyed about it, except, OK, maybe I am. I don’t celebrate Christmas anymore but like Charlotte York, I do miss it. So for it to creep into November and overshadow Thanksgiving, my FAVORITE HOLIDAY, kind of hurts my feelings. Don’t even get me started on my birthday.

Do you like Thanksgiving or is it just a waystation to the main event? And I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings here: I grew up with a dad who took the War on Christmas VERY SERIOUSLY so I know the other side of the coin. I just really want to know: Is Thanksgiving now less important to American society?


Filed under cooking?!?, Family

24 responses to “Whither Thanksgiving?

  1. I LOVE Thanksgiving! It’s my favorite holiday of the year and it makes me sad that it is completely overshadowed by Christmas. I love that it’s one day and it’s about family and friends and enjoying a wonderful meal together.

  2. I love Thanksgiving. I love the cooking and feeding everyone and spending the day with my family. I love making shopping lists and scheduling oven time and washing the same bowls over and over so I can dirty them for the next dish. I love when my whole family can be together. Maybe next year.

    And yes, I feel like Thanksgiving has lost a lot of importance. It really shows in the change in retail. Thanksgiving has been relegated to end caps, or sandwiched between Halloween clearance and the Christmas stuff that has been out for months.

    • YES: retail. You’re so right. I heard an advertisement for a “The Black Friday BEFORE THE BLACK FRIDAY” sale today. Wut? I read the book “Not Buying It” (really interesting: a writer doesn’t consume anything at all for a whole year, except for the basic necessities: ie Food) which made a very persuasive argument about how relentless the retail industry is during Christmas.

  3. We have to really work to have Thanksgiving here because it’s not a holiday. In all but the one year when my son had just been born, we head over to a friend’s house from church (she’s British and he’s French but they lived in the States) and eat Thanksgiving there with an American couple and any other English speaking person around. I guess that has its own special tradition.

    • Yes! I totally get this. It’s so funny: some of my favorite Thanksgivings were in London with our ex-pat friends. Something about scrambling to find the wacky ingredients like condensed milk and canned pumpkin and doing something very different than everyone else with others who celebrated thr custom made the day pretty memorable.

  4. I love Thanksgiving. Family and food are two of my favorite things, so how could I not? Also, being Jewish, I get a lot of anxiety around Christmastime, always on guard for someone to say/do something offensive or marginalizing. It’s stressful. Although Thanksgiving has its own issues with treatment of the Indians, you can’t go wrong with just focusing on things to be grateful for, so I like it for that reason too.

    • Definitely there is a shadow cast on Thanksgiving because of the history of Native Americans, for sure. I do love the grateful part a lot, though. In London (we spent just three Thanksgivings there but they were memorable) we had a tradition where we went around the room and actually said what we were thankful for. (We were young so it was stuff like “Our Proximity to Paris” and silly things.) I may have to reinstate that practice. I loved it.

  5. With an American mother, I always enjoyed getting to have turkey twice ; ) — but we celebrate in mid-October — so American Thanksgiving always has seemed a little late/close to Christmas for me. Although Thanksgiving in Canada is generally not quite the big deal that it is in the States (and apparently, we used to celebrate in mid-November, until they decided that Thanksgiving & Remembrance Day should be two separate holidays.) I have heard it said that more Americans will make the effort to go home for Thanksgiving than for Christmas, & that has always seemed a bit odd to me. I like Thanksgiving (& being in mid-October, the fall colours are right at their peak & the weather can still be decent), but if I have to pick, I’m going to spend Christmas with my family — hands down.

    That said, I agree with you that the Christmas hype starts waaaayyyyy too early these days. Hallmark puts out its ornaments in JULY, for crying out loud. :p I think that Remembrance Day is quite soon enough to unveil the Christmas decorations & sales.

    • Canadians (and other nationalities) totally get a pass in my book for getting the jump on Christmas: no Thanksgiving in November! You are right: more Americans travel during Thanksgiving than any other time of the year (busiest travel day: the Wednesday before Thanksgiving) which IS kind of weird, but I would say that I think to many Americans, Thanksgiving means spending time with your extended family, whereas Christmas is more a local event? I have no data to back that up. It’s an interesting point you make…

  6. I couldn’t agree more. This year withstanding, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Love spending time with family, cooking and eating the things that remind me of my childhood, and the new traditions my husband’s family have introduced me to. It bothers me that decorations and sales seem to start earlier each year, now before Halloween. And the fact that stores are now open on Thanksgiving?!? The meaning seems to be gone for this, and most other holidays, and even the stopping to relax and enjoy, has been outweighed by the need to get that great deal.

  7. Thanksgiving was always my second-favorite holiday after the Fourth of July. I know, I know. That’s kind of an odd favorite holiday but I just like fireworks and cookouts and warm weather a tiny bit more than I like stuffing and mashed potatoes… and frankly I don’t like football at all, which, now that I think about it, might account for why it’s my second favorite holiday instead of my first favorite 🙂

    • I love Fourth of July too. We have a deal where we spend either the 4th OR Thanksgiving with my parents each year. I don’t love football either :/ It means a lot of yelling in loud voices by the male members of the Darcy household. Blah.

  8. Thanksgiving and Passover are my two favorite holidays of the year. That said, I *still* miss Christmas. It gets harder every year. And I do think that Thanksgiving has become this obligatory stop on the Path to the Almighty Consumerist Version of Christmas (TM) – which sucks, b/c Thanksgiving is, I think, more of a family togetherness holiday than Christmas b/c there’s no exchange of gifts. Just food and family – no Santa stocking stuffer what’s under the tree drama. Well, plenty of family drama, but still. It’s more “pure” 😉

  9. Thanksgiving was always a big deal because of the family togetherness part. When I was small, my grandparents went away for the winter right afterward so it was a last hurrah with them for a few months. Now I’m trying really hard to make Thanksgiving a big deal too for the kid, but I have no sense as to whether it’s been successful because for me it’s greatly about food and football, and she is about neither of those (I often wonder who she’s related to, and I realize she is a mini-version of my mother-in-law). I feel like Christmas is taking over in all sorts of bad ways and it needs to stop. There was a small Christmas section out two weeks before Halloween. Really people.

  10. Thanksgiving is my dad’s favorite holiday, to the point of obsession. No presents to buy, just a nice day with family eating great food. I sort of feel like Christmas is overtaking the other fall holidays (seriously, decorations in the store the day after Halloween??) and this encroachment of Bl.ack Fri.day into the Thanksgiving holiday is annoying.

    • I hate Black Friday. (The Black Friday Before Black Friday sales ESPECIALLY need to just go away.) I am so sick of hearing about it!!! And the crazy stampedes at Best Buy. Ugh.

  11. Husband and I are both so sad at how gobble-gobble has turned to gimme-gimme. I feel we have lost the ability to truly be thankful for what we have, and instead we think about what we want — which is what we DON’T have.

  12. Pingback: Friday Fun, Frustration, Frivolity and Food « Family Building With a Twist

  13. What a adorable Turkey! I love Thanksgiving and I’m so excited that we will be celebrating this year. We have some American friends coming in from Zambia and I’m really looking forward to trying to cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner and introducing the holiday to my kids for the first time. I have wonderful Thanksgiving memories growing up and really miss being so far away from family this time of year.

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