So I was walking the isles of a major retailer yesterday. I passed the seasonal isles to land myself deep inside the MASSIVE Halloween section. Trying to gaze inconspicuously at the “sexy” costumes, I shuffled through some of the kids stuff to gather ideas, then tried on a few scary masks, making a ‘GRRRR’ sound at my wife who, of course, just rolled her eyes.
I left that area only to discover, just two isles over was the Christmas section. Its only half setup, with boxed strewn about the floor and garland all over the place. It crossed my mind that every year the holiday merchandise seems to appear on shelves earlier and earlier. I mean, its October 9 for the love of Santa!
Then it hit me! What about Thanksgiving? I mean, there are turkeys on sale at the grocery store. Boxes of Stove Top and nasty-ass cans of “cranberry sauce” are featured around the store. A few autumn-themed decorations here and there, but really no Thanksgiving isle. Whats the deal? I would say its because its a religious holiday and people seem to be getting less and less “churchy”, but Christmas and Easter are both religious holidays, so that doesn’t jive. Or is it because it doesn’t have a cartoon mascot like Easter, Valentines day and Christmas? Is it because the holiday is rooted in Genocide, I’d like to say yes to that one, but I don’t think most people know or even car about that part, as specially kids. Has it become more about football than giving thanks?
I asked a bunch of young ladies and gentlemen (age 12-19, and two 40 year olds) why they thought Thanksgiving seems to be among the least popular of holidays. The answers I got were kind of disheartening! The central theme unanimously was ‘personal gain’. They all agreed that the receiving of gifts is what makes a successful holiday and Thanksgiving is sorely lacking when it comes to “gifts”. A few of them said it’s boring, noting that you just “hang around with family and eat a big meal”. And one expressed the idea that it has always been part of the Thanksgiving tradition to over eat, a day of indulgence, however nowadays many, MANY people indulge on a regular basis. If they want it, they buy it an eat it! Another mentioned the growing disconnection people seem to be having from family, for whatever reason (texts and emails perhaps??).
I personally think these kids (and the two 40 year olds) hit it right on the head! I believe all of the above to be true, as sad as it may be, it seems that our society as a whole over indulges too often for it to be an enticing feature of a single day. We seem to not care about an event if it is without personal gain. And in the age of Facebook, texting and email reminders, maybe its just all too easy to avoid that Thanksgiving invitation at your sisters place, because you can’t stand her husband anyway and you know Uncle Tom is gonna be there with his inappropriate comments and snarky remarks! OR maybe its all too fitting given the rich, tainted history of the holiday itself.
Either way, this is a food blog and Thanksgiving is supposed to be one of the ultimate food holidays. So, I leave you with my recipe for Sweet Maple Cranberry Sauce! Go, make it and enjoy it with your family, exchange no gifts, forget about Thanksgivings genocidal beginnings, say no prayers and for the love of turkey, keep Uncle Tom out of the whisky!