thanksgiving--why i like this holiday:
this is my second favorite holiday. my favorite is halloween when i get to put on a costume and act silly. i also get to hand candy out to small children and that makes me ecstatic.
thanksgiving is my next best for a couple of reasons. one of the biggest is that unlike christmas and even, sadly, halloween it has not been overcommercialized. why--because it is damn near impossible. there are only so many turkeys and cans of cranberry sauce that can be sold. you don't give gifts, cards seem silly, the only dressing up is putting on nice clothes for the dinner table, and decorations are a might... odd.
another reason that i like thanksgiving is that it is the only truly generous american holiday. what do i mean by this? well-- christmas is the season of greed. it is all about what can i get from other people and what do i have to give. halloween is the season of getting in a costume and eating yourself sick on candy. valentines day is the time to pretend you care and fake it by presenting someone you are supposed to feel disturbingly syruppy romantic towards by giving them too much overpriced chocolate and pricey flowers that'll be decomposing in a week. thanksgiving is a time for sheer gluttony. i will admit that this part of it is anything but generous. it is all about how much you eat. what i mean is that this is the only holiday that i ever see people putting family and friends above others. where despite the fact that media hasn't told them to they have still decided they need to gather and be with those they care about and love. this is the only time of the year where i see even hostile people running about and inviting everyone they know, or think they know, might have even the slightest possibility of not having family to be with to their tables to enjoy the bounty-- not just of food, but of friends and family and that now seemingly rare open and honest brotherly love.
tvs are off. the radios hushed. arguments (usually/ hopefully) forgotten, even if just for the meal.
thanksgiving is the holiday where we stop, think, and are grateful for those things that we have, the friends we can call such, and the family who are there for us despite ourselves. this is the holiday that still has meaning and feeling. we remember thanksgiving not because the tv pushes it at us, but because we choose to. because we want to. it is not about some cheesey disney style history that has been drastically misrepresented over the years, we celebrate this holiday to celebrate each other as people, to celebrate kindness and love and hope. we celebrate it in order to celebrate the positive relationships that exist amoung us all. we celebrate to remind us of what we forget the rest of the year-- how much we love and how much we are loved.
we celebrate thanksgiving because as the name of the holiday says-- we give thanks. we are thankful everything.
on a same but different note:
christmas pisses me off. this is likely because i work in retail. there has been no magic for many years. i've seen too much bull to care much about it any more. and that saddens me. so i have come up with a new idea. one that i hope will redeem the holiday for me.
i am not buying people gifts this year.
for the last several years i have bought gifts with the idea of getting people things that they need. i hate wasting my money. i do not mind spending it or getting things for people. what i have issues with is waste. i have absolutley no interest in getting people some piece of crap they will forget in five minutes. i want to get something they will enjoy and use. something that will really be worth something the whole year round. but last year i noticed that i spent way too much money on stuff that i consider crap. and it was for people who had no need for crap. people who made enough money (not wealthy but not poor) that they didn't need anything and all i was getting them in place of good stuff was crap. i decided i was never going to do this again but i couldn't figure out how.
then my sister came up to me and asked me what i wanted for christmas. i was in my bedroom which was stuffed with junk. more than giving people useful things i like getting useful things. i'm a college student. life is expensive. but i looked around my room and realized to my shock that i didn't need anything and there was nothing i wanted specifically either. so i told her-- "you know what, get an angel off one of those angel-trees and get that kid something. write down what you get them and tell me. that is what you can get me. they need those things a lot more than i need more useless junk."
and that is when it dawned on me. instead of getting people who are perfectly capable of affording life on their own stuff they don't really need-- i am going to get those angel-tree angels and get some poor kid, who other-wise can't even afford a new pair of jeans, the stuff they need. these kids can't get this stuff themselves. they can't afford the cost of life, they are simply too poor.
i challenge you to give anyone you know who also doesn't need more stuff (hint if when you are shopping for them all you can think to yourself is "they already have everything" that would be the person and the time) a card or piece of paper saying-- i helped some needy child get something nice this year in your name. here is what i bought for them: fill-in here.
try it. it might make you a better person, or feel like one, or even just plain feel good about yourself.
have a good holiday season.