The Ghost of Thanksgiving
Christmas is overshadowing Thanksgiving. Christmas displays and greenery appear in July. Thanksgiving becomes a ghost holiday in September. Retail stores place Thanksgiving items on a lone shelf and feature a Halloween section. The first Thanksgiving celebration came from a kindled desire to celebrate a bountiful harvest, to thank helpful natives, and to thank God for the survival of the colony. Today, Thanksgiving Day seems to be about eating a roast turkey and shopping before midnight.
Focus on the Turkey
American media portrays a celebration that is about the American turkey, or feeding people who cannot afford a turkey. Magazines highlight the Thanksgiving menu and suggest variations for you to try. Grocery stores celebrate Thanksgiving with an annual sale for the Thanksgiving menu items.
A Christmas Hallmark
Churches, restaurants, food pantries, and other organizations provide many Thanksgiving meals annually. Do not take this the wrong way; I know that a feeling of thankfulness is involved in feeding the poor. However, the focus on the meal seems to ignore one fact. What binds families together is time and traditions, not a turkey dinner. Charity is a hallmark of Christmas, not Thanksgiving.
The traditional November gathering serves as a time to share stories and memories of Thanksgiving Past. My own memories stretch backwards into Thanksgiving family history. I smile as I take each event-filled Thanksgiving Past out of storage, dust it off, and savor the memories. Not all of them were good, but each recollection embraces my family history.
- 1994 – Mom treated us to a variation of her yearly menu. The family found out we had Thanksgiving traditions and just did not know it!
- 2004 – The last Thanksgiving with my Grandma Pansy holds a special place. We met at my brother’s house that year. The photos show four generations of Tucker women, standing surrounded by husbands and children.
- 2005 – My first Thanksgiving as a widow, I packed my daughter up in our van and drove to Aurora, Colorado. My sister and her family gave us a safe haven to heal and feel safe that Thanksgiving.
- 2010 – My first Thanksgiving with my new husband, I am thankful he survived it.
- 2013 – Thanksgiving will be at my brother’s new house. Our parents, now in their seventies, will be there. I am thankful they are still with us.
A Family Evolution
Thanksgiving is evolving as my daughters have created their own families and I married my wonderful husband, Bill. Last year, my grandchildren arrived on Saturday to see a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and a golden turkey sitting on a platter surrounded by cranberries, green bean casserole, and candied sweet potatoes. Our family tradition is to decorate for Christmas on Thanksgiving weekend.
Christmas sales have crept from November’s “Black Friday” to July. “Black Friday” has crept into “Black Thursday”, or Thanksgiving Day. Let us revive Thanksgiving this year. Begin your Thanksgiving Present with thoughts of thankfulness for your family surviving the peaks and valleys of the last year. Then, toast the beginning of the holiday season with eggnog before you begin dessert.