What’s most enthralling about Thanksgiving? Is it the time with family and friends, the belt-loosening food-borne ecstasy, the concept of comfort and relaxation, the fact that we don’t need to make excuses for not working, or is it a combination of all these?
I think it’s certainly a combination of these, but I think it’s also a chance to step back and acknowledge the things for which we’re thankful; that in and of itself is a good thing. Especially being that we live in this particular nation, too often we’re overwrought with schedules, things that should have already been done, things we’d like to do but for which we fail to find the time, and the inevitable fact that we complain about those things which are not satisfactory. This holiday is about taking all of that stuff – the ulcers, the insomnia, the headaches, doctor bills – and tossing it all out the window, if even for a day or a weekend.
The thing about Thanksgiving – for me, at least – is that it’s really just about smiles and relaxation. There’s no exchange of gifts – not really anyway – so there’s no chore-based grind of having to pick out gifts for every- and anyone who might cross your path the day before, the day of, or the day after the holiday. To wit, the day after Thanksgiving is known as the biggest shopping day of the year and labeled with its very own specific name – “Black Friday.” Personally, I can’t foresee spending one of the nicest days of the year and then shitting all over it by waking up at 4AM to buy crap at low prices, but I’m clearly in the minority as this phenomenon grips the country tighter than UFO’s over trailer parks, so what do I know?
Inevitably, what I think I enjoy most about the holiday is the lack of pressure and aggravation that’s otherwise inherent throughout the year. I like not having to abide by any real schedule – other than cooking times and football – and I like the meandering, laissez-faire aspect of the entire holiday. Air travel excluded, is there anything better than enjoying your existence and not having anything to do but enjoy comfort food and the company of people who make you happy? I really don’t think so.
There are some exceptions – the fact that, usually, the Detroit Lions play on Thanksgiving is a black mark on the day, as the Detroit Lions are among the worst football teams – nee, sports franchises – in history. That, and in the inevitable rush to be around family, you have to attempt to tolerate people who are typically intolerable and whose behavior is consistently abhorrent and pathetic. But these minor issues aside, being thankful is very rewarding. After all, if you have issues with the two aforementioned issues, change the channel or your plans and skip the complaints.
So in the spirit of the holiday, my perspective – especially this upcoming season – is to be thankful about being able to be thankful. Perhaps it’s corny, perhaps it’s sort of naïve, but I’m glad to be in a position to not complain. I suppose I could, but especially given the time of year, I can’t. I’m happy to count such good people as friends, and I think – inevitably – I’m most thankful that I can look forward to this holiday – and the coming season – and know that I really have it lots better than I sometimes believe I do.
And, for that – among other things – I’m most thankful.