Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Comes First (even if you want to tell the whole holiday season to suck it)

I'm writing this for my new friend, Suldog, who writes fabulous blog entries that I need a thesaurus to interpret but inspires me to be a better - or at least a more loquacious yet articulate - writer (like that?!).

Sully hates the fact that Christmas is now officially celebrated for a quarter of the year.  And I tend to agree, although for slightly different reasons.

It used to be when I was a kid that I looked forward to Thanksgiving for the pure reliable family traditions.  Every year, me and my mom, dad and brother would walk up the street to my grandparents' house for the yearly Thanksgiving feast.  The men would watch football while the women finished up the meal preparations.  Around 2:00, everybody would sit down to turkey, potatoes, cranberries, rolls and some kind of veggie/fruit jello mold thing.

To this day, Thanksgiving just isn't Thanksgiving without a mystery-fruit jello mold.

After dinner, everybody would lay around like giant slugs, maybe play a game of Scrabble or cards and then reconvene in the living room for pumpkin pie and the inevitable showing of The Ten Commandments or The Sound of Music on TV.

There was a lot of comfort in this familiarity.  Family spending time together before the advent of cell phones and Twitter.

The next day, you would start to see traces of Christmas here and there.  Christmas lights on the neighbors' houses, candles and poinsettias in church, holiday trees in the department stores.  Christmas had officially begun.

The sales circulars didn't show up in the newspaper until Thanksgiving Day.  It was fun to sit around after Thanksgiving dinner with a 10-pound newspaper and piece together an imaginary Christmas list.

But Thanksgiving always came first.

I don't know exactly when it started to happen, but Christmas started to creep.  Some years ago, I noticed that stores started to kick-off the season the day after Halloween.  And then it started before Halloween.  In a year or two, I imagine that we will start to hear Santa Claus is Coming to Town on July 5th.

This year, I admit, I haven't paid much attention to the holiday creep.  But now with Thanksgiving just around the corner, it's hard to ignore.  Something about being newly single again tends to make the holidays seem not so warm and fuzzy, and more like a axe hanging over one's neck.

Perspective changes everything.

To me it's not so much that Christmas is taking over, it's that I don't want to deal with the holidays... period.  How does starting it so much earlier sound like a good idea to anybody...except maybe Best Buy?

The holidays as an adult are tough as it is - parties you don't want to go to, gift-exhanges for people you don't like, forced jolliness, fruit cake.  Add into it the pressure to singly provide a fun and memorable holiday for a 11-year old when money is tight and your entire family lives 2000 miles away, and the holidays are downright frightening.

I'm not in the mood for the neighbors who never took down the Christmas lights from last year but turned them on the day after Halloween with a "look how on top of things we are, fuckers".

I don't want to hear Christmas music on the radio before Thanksgiving...or Halloween...or the first day of school.  It's bad enough to be depressed and flipping through the radio stations and have to deal with occasionally landing on the easy listening radio station that plays "all love songs all the time" - or as the newly single like to refer to as "stick-your-head-in-the-oven love songs".  But throw in deck the halls and chestnuts roasting and Frosty and I'm ready to forego something as elaborate as the oven and head straight to the George Foreman grill to see what kind of damage I can inflict there.  I'm not sure I know how to use the oven anyway.

Let's not move this shit up on the calendar any earlier than we absolutely need to!  Sheesh.

But there are things for which I am grateful and I will remind myself of those things on Thursday when everybody takes a break from a full month of Black Friday and gorges themselves on turkey and jello molds.

I am thankful for my amazing 11-year old daughter who, with one smile, makes me forget everything else.

I am thankful for my friend, B, who has had pity on me and invited the me and the Princess to Thanksgiving dinner because she knows that we are alone and I don't cook and I'm a vegetarian and the Princess should definitely not have to suffer without turkey and would likely be served Oscar Meyer processed turkey if we didn't go to B's.  (Note to B - shall I bring the jello mold?)

I'm thankful that the Princess's Christmas list has gone down from "everything in the Pottery Barn Teen catalog please" to a pair of Uggs and a new cell phone.

I am thankful that I have a job.  And that I have a job that only makes me want to stab myself in the eyeball with a fork about half the time.

I am thankful I have good friends who still love me even when I'm sad and anti-social.

I am thankful that I don't have any cavities.

I am thankful for my friend K, who let me cry on her shoulder even though she was 3000 miles away.  And then I forgot her birthday, making me the worst friend EVER.

I am thankful that I have my health and good shoes.

Even though I will likely only receive a hand-knitted slightly crooked Princess-made scarf for Christmas, I am thankful that I will be receiving a hand-knitted slightly crooked Princess-made scarf for Christmas.

And I am thankful that I know when I am coming dangerously close to insufferable self-pity.

So for candy canes until after the tofu turkey.  No Christmas shopping until after the actual Black Friday (or the next paycheck, more likely).  No holiday music...ever.

I'm going to stop and be thankful.

And then I can be a Grinch.


  1. Yer, in our little town, they put up the Christmas decorations down the main street a couple of weeks ago. Christmas Creep is getting so bad they'll be starting by Labor Day soon.

  2. A great post. Lots of truth there, but the thought of tofu turkey is seriously depressing to me!

  3. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the target lady Christmas commercials also make you want to rip your eyeballs out?

    I hate that bitch.

  4. oops. Guilty as charged. I don't know what happened. This year, the Christmas spirit took over and I spent today decorating my tree, writing about it on my blog, and then writing my Christmas newsletter. Actually, I do know what took over... The past few years I waited until AFTER Thanksgiving to do Christmas shopping, and I was miserable the whole time, wondering if the present would get here on time, wondering what to get everyone, not having the budget to buy anything because I waited to long and now there won't be another payday until AFTER Christmas. So this year, I'm taking care of business ahead of time, so I can enjoy the next 2 months of holiday cheer. In peace. :)

  5. Yeah, being turkey-less on Thanksgiving would be a little weird for me (though I totally get your vegetarianism and wish I could do it myself--truly). The quarter-year of Christmas just sucks all the excitement out of the season for me. It's so not like it used to be when we were kids.

    I'm thankful for great blogging buddies, so if I miss any posts before Thanksgiving, thanks for being a reader, commenter, and great blogger to visit. Best!

  6. I'm just back from my Thanksgiving vacation. Thank you for posting this, and rest assured that if you find yourself in my neck of the woods, you and The Princess have an open invitation for Thanksgiving (although I would have some qualms and trepidations concerning serving tofurkey, so you might have to survive on squash, turnip, and cranberry sauce.)

  7. We don't celebrate Halloween here in Finland, but I too blogged earlier about the fact that they now start this Christmas frenzy way too early here - I guess this is a global thing ! I think it was October 17th when I bumped into a wall of Christmas chocolates at my local store -- and I wanted to drop my groceries and run out before I could hear any Christmas Carols ! Ugh. Hope your Thanksgiving was nice and....Merry Christmas, regardless :)

  8. I am thankful that folks post gratitude lists. It keeps me grounded... not like on no-fly lists.
    I have felt like I was invisible a number of time over the past few weeks. I must have been, because I was standing right where someone else felt it was necessary to be. I am thankful that I didn't react and smack them upside the head.
    I am thankful, too, I don't have to handle things more than one day at a time.

  9. Though I love Christmas, all of the Christmas cheer does make me want to puke sometimes. And I only love Christmas starting the day after Thanksgiving. Until then, I don't even want to think about it.