What if there were a day where (almost) everyone had the day off and (almost) everyone got together with family and friends just to eat and visit? No shopping, no gifts, no religious affiliation, no decorations except maybe getting out the fancy dishes and napkins… just family and food and quality time. Doesn't that sounds great?
Well guess what? There is such a day, at least here in the US. It’s called Thanksgiving!
Yeah, okay, so you knew that already.
Thanksgiving is, without question, my favorite holiday. I love the fact that it’s completely unpretentious. It’s the complete opposite of pretentious, in fact; the whole point is to be thankful, and it’s hard to be pretentious when you’re being thankful. I also love the fact that there’s no agenda other than to be thankful. No political agenda, no religious agenda, no capitalist agenda… just a nice spiritual one: be thankful. How can you argue with that?
Unfortunately, however, I think Thanksgiving tends to get the shaft. Halloween gets a lot of attention from kids of all ages, which I think keeps people from thinking too much about Thanksgiving until mid-November. And because retailers don’t have anything directly related to Thanksgiving they can sell (except maybe food), they ignore Thanksgiving and push us to start Christmas shopping as early as possible after Halloween. Talk about missing the point!
Rather than just complain, let me offer a solution: there should be two Thanksgivings every year. The traditional November Thanksgiving can stay right where it is, I think, despite the interference from Halloween and Christmas. That one we will call Fall Thanksgiving. The new Thanksgiving should be in late April, and we will call it Spring Thanksgiving. Otherwise, everything about the two Thanksgivings should be the same - family, friends, food, thankfulness and that’s it. No shopping, no gifts, no agendas. Just a day to nourish the soul, and, yes, maybe the stomach too.
We have holidays to celebrate presidents, important dates in American history, and one quasi-religious birthday. I don’t think any of those are as important as taking time to get together with our loved ones and focus on how much we have to be thankful for. Nor do I think that taking one day a year to do that is sufficient. Heck, maybe two isn't even enough. We’ll have to try it and see.
And so, with that, I wish you a Happy Fall Thanksgiving. :)