There was a time when this country celebrated Thanksgiving. Now, I haven’t even come down off my sugar high from the bag of Halloween Snickers I ate and I’m hearing Christmas songs. What happened to celebrating Thanksgiving before we break out the Nutcracker statues, go chopping down pine trees, or maxing out our credit cards online shopping? I blame part of this on Thanksgiving’s mascot…the turkey. Halloween has cool ghouls, ghosts, and demons. Fourth of July we get fireworks. Memorial Day we honor our veterans. Easter has a bunny, St Patty’s Day has green beer, Valentine’s Day has women threatening bodily harm to their mates and Christmas of course has Santa. I also blame our relatives. Is there any other holiday that makes our kin feel the need to unbutton their pants and take a nap on your sofa like Thanksgiving does? Today’s culture, if you don’t have presents, candy, picnic horseshoe competitions, or fireworks, midnight church mass, or bars opening up at 9am, we could care less. Well log off of buy.com, turn off the Johnny Mathis Christmas album, put down the eggnog and let me tell you about the 30 reasons we need to remember why Thanksgiving deserves its place in the Hall of Fame of Holidays.
30. Half day of work. Whether it is official or not, the Wednesday before is a half day of work. I already have three “appointments” set up right after lunch on Wednesday. Don’t tell my boss.
29. I have Black Friday off. Sorry if this doesn’t apply you but I do. Thanksgiving guarantees me a four day weekend every year (plus that half day on Wednesday).
28. It’s always on Thursday. I like consistency. Plus I like knowing I’ll have a few days to recover after I eat my weight in food and spend all day with my relatives before going back to work.
27. Football. A gift from the gridiron gods (and the NFL Network) even if one of those games is the Detroit Lions.
26. Seeing your family. Sure you don’t talk to most of your family from one calendar year to the next (and for good reason) but spending a few hours with your great aunt who smells like cats is good for your karma.
25. Indian Corn. I’m a simple man with simple pleasures. Indian corn is just cool looking.
24. Sweet-potato casserole. If you have had my mother-in-law’s casserole you would know what I mean.
23. Wednesday night. I’m not sure when or why it happened, but the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is like New Year’s Eve and St. Patty’s Day rolled into one. Not as much fun now that I have kids and no regular babysitter but well worth mentioning.
22. Eating all day long. Gluttony at its best.
21. Napping. When you consume enough tryptophan to put an elephant to sleep, you’re going to need a nap. Unbutton those pants and lean back in your La-Z-Boy friends. Yes its disturbing when your uncles do it…not you.
20. Cooking the food. I don’t mind every 15 minutes basting the turkey if it gives me the chance to pick at everything before it gets to the table.
19. Pumpkin Pie. A personal favorite.
18. Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream. I would almost punch my own mother in the throat for a piece of this.
17. It’s my wife’s birthday. Her birthday is the 26th which from time to time means a Thanksgiving birthday.
16. It’s not as hectic as other holidays. The first Thanksgiving lasted 3 long days. With nothing to do but eat and watch television, the 6 hours spent at your cousin’s house will feel the same.
15. Thanksgiving is cheap. Excluding the food, nothing else is required to buy for Thanksgiving. No gift wrapped presents. No Secret Santa. No fake smiles when you open up the candle your aunt gave you.
14. The Parades. I find parades about as entertaining as having my blood drawn by a nurse with an eye patch and bad depth perception but my kids like them so on the list it goes.
13. Stores are still open. Sometimes I need a Wawa 100% Columbian Coffee or some Krazy-Glue from Wal-Mart. Nice to know Christians’ Savior didn’t do anything of note in November that we need to celebrate and thereby closing everything down.
12. Prop bets on your relatives. Who will fall asleep first, who eats the last piece of coconut cream pie, who has the loudest gas, the list can go on and on. Men will gamble on anything which takes us to number 11.
11. Prop bets on which retail chain store will have an employee trampled on Black Friday. I don’t like to see anyone get hurt but its hard to not take the action on the 4 to 1 odds that some poor part time senior citizen at Wal-Mart is going down for 40% off HD TV’s.
10. Limited decorating. Outside of a few gourds and the pumpkins you’ve had out since Halloween, Thanksgiving doesn’t require me to scale a 20’ ladder to staple multi-colored lights on my roof eaves.
9. No music. Enough with the music. Christmas songs will soon be saturating our airwaves. Halloween has the Monster Mash. Any holiday with an iota of patriotism and Toby Keith is bound to put out a new album. Besides Adam Sandler, you won’t be hearing Drake or Taylor Swift singing about Cranberry sauce.
8. TV Marathons. You’re sure to find TNT, TBS, or a triple digit cable channel running series worth of shows or blocks of Sylvester Stallone movies during the Thanksgiving break. Check it out during commercials and halftime of the football games. (Fingers crossed AMC runs the Walking Dead)
7. Walking the dog. Any chance you get to escape your family for a few minutes and walk off the four desserts you ate is a good one. Might as well take the dog (he probably ate as much as you from off the floor and really needs that walk too).
6. Cranberry Sauce. Saving all from dry turkey since Ulysses S Grant served it at the siege of Petersburg in 1864.
5. Kids’ art. With all due respect to paper Christmas tree ornaments, there is just something about your kid’s outlined hand cut out and decorated as a turkey. So cute.
4. Leftovers. My mouth is watering just thinking about them.
3. Roadtrips. Last year me, my wife and our kids drove 26 hours roundtrip to Kentucky and back home to be with my brother in law and his family. It’s a thin line between family bonding and driving your car off a cliff but it is worth every mile.
2. The Pilgrims and Indians. How can you have Thanksgiving list without them?
1. Being thankful. It’s the one time of year when we consciously remind ourselves of the things we should be thankful for. Whether those things are on my list or your own list, let’s all be thankful.