I’ve always thought that Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday. Thanksgiving has nothing to do with war like Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day and Independence Day. Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday like Christmas or Easter (all non-Christians out there substitute your days of holy obligation here) and doesn’t celebrate bad historical dudes you feel guilty about now (think Columbus Day.) Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday have lost their importance since being merged into the department store sales gimmick that is Presidents’ Day. Halloween has become divorced from its roots as a celebration of deceased ancestors–despite the best efforts of the Day of the Dead celebrations in the Southwest. As a lefty I like MLK, Jr. Day and Labor Day–but acknowledge their limited appeal to middle-of-the-road, middle-class America.

Thanksgiving is the perfect American holiday: you eat ’til you drop, you watch some football on TV (and/or play some touch football in the yard) and hang out with your family. The moral lesson is slight and easy to absorb–be grateful for what you have and pour one out for those less fortunate. Donations to food banks and invitations to dinners for folks without families skyrocket during Thanksgiving. Except for the grocery bill, the commercialism is dialed way down.

There are two drawbacks to the holiday: 1) the saccharine origin story of the holiday is ahistorical, an attempt to sugarcoat the violent tragedy of white v. aboriginal relations in the New World. 2) The Charlie Brown animated special for Thanksgiving sucks, nowhere near the level of the masterpieces Schulz pulled off for Halloween and Christmas.

So this year I give thanks for:

Everyone in my family, both past and present, both human and canine, for your love and support.

The gods and the medical professionals who kept me alive this year after yet another serious health scare.

The brave citizens fighting to improve their communities with whom I am privileged to work every day.

The Tea Party morons, incompetent bureaucrats and the criminal captains of finance and industry. Organizing wouldn’t be easy without a big, fat target.

And finally, I give thanks to the 2010 San Francisco Giants. My late father, a lifelong fan of the NY/SF Giants, had a front row seat for the Series and I know he’s probably still rejoicing over their victory.

OK, pass the stuffing and gravy!


2 thoughts on “Thanksgiving

  1. Randy Jay Kesten

    A wonderful post. Alhtough I think I could find a few more issues with Thanksgiving if I really wanted to, but I’ll go easy on the holiday since, as you say, it has way more going for it than the other American holidays.

    And when it broadens to include the heartwarming glow of the 2010 SF Giants, all the better.


  2. Ellen

    Nice post. My family basically agreed this year that this would probably be our last traditional Thanksgiving meal. There just aren’t enough people left around to justify a special effort at making a fancy dinner. We’ll probably go out to eat or just do something else that day. I’m trying to encourage family members to volunteer, but I don’t know how well that’s going to go over. (I don’t exactly come from a family of join-ers.)


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