|Is he really saying, "Eat me?"|
I'll admit that I agree with Suldog's sentiments to a point. I'm not crazy about hearing "Sleigh Ride" pumping through the speakers at my local supermarket in October. Hell, I live in Southern California where it doesn't even feel like Christmas on Christmas, let alone Columbus Day. But I don't think we can blame the supermarket management for this, nor can we pin the yearly Thanksgiving neglect on toy companies, advertising agencies, or whoever's in charge of when "A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs. No, Thanksgiving is its own worst enemy, and there are several reasons why it has become the 90-pound weakling of holidays.
The simplest, of course, is that Thanksgiving is chronologically-disadvantaged, sandwiched between the two most popular and marketable days of the entire year -- Halloween and Christmas. Even the lesser holidays like Valentine's Day, the Fourth of July, and Easter benefit from being somewhat isolated on the calendar, although Easter struggles a bit because no one is quite sure when it's coming. April? March? The day before Memorial Day? Who the hell knows? But Thanksgiving has a better holiday four weeks ahead of it and a month or so behind it. It's kind of like the Three Stooges, Christmas and Halloween are Moe and Curly, Thankgiving is Shemp.
The next problem Thanksgiving faces is that there's really not much to it. Halloween is all about costumes, spookiness, parties and candy. Christmas, of course, is full of presents, family gatherings, traditional songs, and endless merriment and good will. What does Thanksgiving bring to the table? Turkey, cranberry sauce, indigestion, and a couple football games. Hell, Christmas has everything that Thanksgiving has. Every year, my family gets together for a huge Christmas dinner of turkey (or sometimes ham), mashed potatoes, that casserole made from green beans and crispy noodles, and Grandma's lemon cheese pie, just like we do on Thanksgiving. And on top of all that, we get to exchange gifts and listen to the Frank Sinatra Christmas Album. Put another way, Thanksgiving is merely Christmas without the presents which, unless you live in Whoville, kind of sucks.
So the question becomes, how do we help Thanksgiving earn its proper respect? I think the first thing we need to do is move it the hell out of November. Pack up the horns o' plenty and the Indian corn in a huge U-Haul and relocate to the second Thursday in September. Sure, that puts it a week after Labor Day, but who cares? Using our Stooges analogy again, Labor Day isn't even Curly Joe, it's more like Moe's second cousin Phil who hated slapstick comedy so he became a plumber. With Thanksgiving in September, it gets to lead off the fall-winter festivities, building up to Halloween and Christmas.
Next, we need to come up with a Thanksgiving representative, a character who is instantly recognizable and lovable. Christmas has Santa Claus, Halloween has witches and goblins, Easter has the giant bunny, Valentine's Day has Cupid, even the Fourth of July invites Uncle Sam to the barbecue. Thanksgiving, though, has absolutely no one banging its proverbial drum. The closest you'll see is a turkey wearing a pilgrim's hat, but let's be honest here. The turkey can't possibly be the Thanksgiving rep because by the end of the day he's DEAD! Not exactly the most festive of all outcomes. What do you think the reaction would be if every Easter, families got together and slow-roasted a rabbit? "Say, Jimmy, would you like a leg or an ear?"
|James O'Thankful says, "Have another drumstick!"|
So the turkey is out. But what if we named an official Thanksgiving Pilgrim, a suave, smooth-talking guy named James O'Thankful (he's part Irish, go with it) who shows up on Thanksgiving Night with extra gravy and a few seasonal trinkets, and reminds your family of everything it should be thankful for. Love, health, happiness, the fact that Christmas is just a few months away (we've moved to September, remember?).
I think that would be a good start.
In the meantime, Thanksgiving will have to deal with Christmas and Halloween poking it in the eyes and cracking it over the head with baseball bats.
Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.