|I’m thankful that she has legs.|
So, last week was Thanksgiving and I kept sitting down, trying to write some sort of post that reflected the holiday season, giving thanks, and still remain in keeping with my personality.
I (obviously) couldn’t do it.
Then I got all wrapped up in the cooking, since my mother, who usually does the majority (okay, all of it) of the workload is still recuperating from three surgeries.
Sure, I have things that I am thankful for, and grateful for. I am thankful for Annika and Toyin. I’m grateful that my Mom is getting better. I’m glad I have a roof over my head and food to eat every day. I have lots of other things to be thankful for.
But then there’s the accuracy police aspect of my personality. So while I was trying to think of what to write about Thanksgiving, I looked up some historical aspects of Thanksgiving, thinking I could incorporate some of that into my post, and I just ended up feeling pissed off about how one of our biggest national holidays is based on a story about a group of people who were kind to us and in turn we stole their land and gave them disease. Where’s the holiday where we celebrate mutilation and destruction?
And then, because I had been giving it so much thought I realized, I don’t really feel all that thankful, on Thanksgiving.
I don’t feel UN-thankful. I just don’t feel any more thankful than the rest of the year. It seems fake. And if you think about it, it is a fake holiday.
I don’t think it’s any big secret that Thanksgiving is a government holiday. But it’s not like it started as a national tradition with that first meal. It was celebrated sporadically by various colonies until it became officially recognized over 200 years after that original feast with the Mayflower passengers and the Native Americans. (According to history.com it was real, but it seems like most people think it’s a mythological story. I have no idea, but I’m inclined to go with a source that has the word history in its name.) It wasn’t pronounced an official holiday until the Civil War. It was used as a distraction to induce sorrow for all the widows and orphans. The government was all, “Hey, look at what YOU have to be thankful for! Just be glad your husband isn’t dead.” And then during the Depression, it was used to try and spur holiday sales. And by god, it worked. Just look at us now with our holiday sales and spending frenzies.
Thanksgiving just doesn’t really make me feel all that thankful. In fact, it’s the opposite. I sit around all day feeling a little on the greedy side, quite frankly.
It’s really just an excuse to drink before noon and eat until my intestines feel like they’re going to explode.
So I wondered, is there any real reason to have a holiday that, in theory, makes us give some thought to what we’re thankful for?
I’ve read a lot about all the research into gratitude. How, feeling thankful on a regular basis makes people feel happier. There is some disagreement as to how often one must feel grateful. Some say a daily gratitude journal is in order. Some say that it works better if you think grateful thoughts every three or four days. The intermittent gratitude proponents say that daily gratitude is less meaningful. I’d guess it depends on the person. I’m inclined to go with every three or four days. I tried a gratitude journal once and I ended up writing things like, “I’m glad my legs work,” after noticing someone in a wheelchair and I couldn’t think of anything else.
All I know is that this whole once-a-year gratitudefest gets under my skin. Not because I don’t enjoy the food and the lazy day. I do. I love Thanksgiving. But I think we should rename it.
How about Stuffingfest? Pre-sale Gorgemas? Or my personal favorite, Let’s Eat A Shitload Because We’re Fat Americans Even During A Recession Day.
Okay, show your national pride and get shopping. We’ve only got 24 days left.