by Maria SchulzI got my first email about Halloween in July. Costumes! Candy! Makeup! Decorations! There were so many things on sale, and the drumbeat never stopped. Buy, buy, buy! Since I don’t have little children anymore, it was easy to ignore the constant Halloween noise everywhere I turned.
Now that the day has passed, I am ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. I love this time of year, with harvest festivals, pumpkin picking, and hay rides. I like thinking about all of the things that I have in my life to be grateful for.
I even like thinking about what I’ll cook on Thanksgiving morning, while the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade blares in the background. Hi Snoopy! Hi Spongebob! There goes Big Bird! Is that 5 Seconds of Summer singing on a holiday float? Everybody, here comes Santa!Except…we’ve launched right into Christmas. Toys! Decorations! Christmas TV shows! Christmas Carols! Santa! Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Man! Red coffee cups! Oh wait, we’re not happy about that. Deport the makers of red coffee cups!
We’ve skipped over Thanksgiving entirely. It’s as if we can’t wait to rush out the door and buy everything we can lay our hands on. I’ve been getting Black Friday emails from merchants since July. WHY WAIT? They ask me. Well, maybe because I will never remember where I put that holiday gift if I buy it 5 months in advance.Don’t get me wrong; I love the Holiday season. My kids and I always enjoy singing holiday songs, whether it’s Dreidel, Dreidel or Silent Night. As a tight family unit, we all love pulling the Christmas tree down from the attic, taking out each ornament and talking about where we bought it, arranging the nativity scene and hanging up the stockings. Actually, I get really frustrated and can never get the Christmas lights to work, the kids tell me I’ve bought too many ornaments, and then they beg me to stop crying over the ornament with the picture of my old dog in it. Meanwhile, my husband is outside climbing up and down a ladder, pulling off burnt-out lights, smoldering in a Christmas-decorating-induced rage. Once it’s done we’re all really happy though. At least, I think we’re happy. I can’t tell, because my kids have disappeared hours beforehand, leaving me to finish the tree alone.
Hold on though…we aren’t supposed to be in holiday mode yet! I can barely wrap my head around shopping for presents and wrapping them (ugh) on December 20th, let alone 5 months earlier. I will never be one of those people finished shopping for everyone on my list by December 1st. Instead, I am that lady in a panic on Christmas Eve, running out for one last gift.But why do I have to start my shopping, decorating, or even THINKING about the crazy holiday season when I’m wearing a tank top or contemplating where to go apple picking? Don’t think I didn’t see those Christmas decorations behind the Halloween decorations. What if I want to put up a turkey on my front door? Not a real turkey, but a cardboard one (a real one would just be weird).
Why aren’t there Pilgrim and Native American decorations? What about those cardboard turkeys that have “what I’m thankful for” items written on their feathers? What about Charlie Brown singing “Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s House we go?”I want my Thanksgiving moment! I want turkey, sweet potatoes, vegetables, and White Castle stuffing (okay, not very traditional, unless you’re from Bayside. Still). I want to play football on the front lawn even though I’m not a Kennedy. I want to watch March of the Wooden Soldiers while the turkey roasts! I want to think about all of the ways I’m lucky to live in this country of ours, with the people I love. I want to remember the people who have gone on to a better place, and no, I don’t mean New Jersey. What I don’t want to do is run over to whatever store is open on Thanksgiving Day and buy a cartful of Christmas gifts, while wondering why all of the salespeople look so sad. THEY ARE WORKING ON THANKSGIVING DAY! Duh.
Go old school! Stay home. Spend a few hours cooking whatever it is your family and/or friends will enjoy. Go traditional or go gluten-free, but whatever you do, just commit to it. Have one day when you actually slow down and enjoy the people around you. Turn your cell phone off!Talk to the people sitting there with you. Enjoy a meal together. Lay around and watch football or Planes, Trains, and Automobiles together. John Candy and Steve Martin always make Thanksgiving better! Afterwards, you can gather around the table for leftovers and dessert. Have your Camelot moment—go outside and play touch football together at halftime or at your own movie intermission. Who knows? You may just start enjoying Thanksgiving again.
Once the clock strikes midnight, you should all feel free to run off to your Black Friday lunacy. Enjoy! As a retail sales clerk from years gone by, I will gladly stay away. Man, do I love the internet.
Pumpkins! Try one of these fantastic Southern Living recipes that feature pumpkins as the star. There’s everything from Pumpkin Chiffon Pie and Pumpkin Tarts to classic Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pecan Bread, and Beer-Battered Pumpkin with Dipping Sauce.
So, Hungry Lifers: what’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving? What food do you look forward to having on Turkey Day? Would you rather go shopping? Please leave a comment and let us all know. Thanks!