Brief Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It’s short and sweet, just one day. There is no massive commercial buildup. There is no outdoor decoration required, though it’s sandwiched between two decor intensive holidays, Halloween and Christmas. There are no presents to give, though it abuts Black Friday, the latest corporate ‘holiday’ that is sort of glommed onto Thanksgiving.

This year, as my wife and I prepared a relatively modest T-day feast, I realized what Thanksgiving really entailed: eight hours of chores with a twenty minute meal in the middle. Does this realization dampen my fondness for Thanksgiving? It does not. I find that I enjoy the labor intensive nature of the thing. The food prep, trying to remember how to cook the turkey. (When you do something only once a year, you forget. That’s why every newspaper, magazine and TV show reminds you every year how to cook for this holiday). Trying to remember how to cook everything else. Mashed potatoes, for example. I consulted the New York Times, who had a very good article about just this thing.

Perhaps it’s owing to the labor intensive/brief feasting nature of the thing, but I find that Thanksgiving is oddly ephemeral. Christmas lingers a bit because the stuff lingers. It sort of fades away into New Years and January when we get down to the serious business of winter. I suppose Thanksgiving suffers a similar fate, fading into leftovers and shopping. By the way, we have a family tradition of not setting foot into a mall or store on the day after Thanksgiving. It’s our way of trying to keep the glow of that day going just a little longer before it’s on to December and what comes next…