Gobble Gobble Gobbling November
When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was not my favorite holiday. In fact, if I had been given a choice, I probably would have eliminated November altogether--the month was 30 long, unnecessary days that dragged on, preventing the glorious candy haul of Halloween from flowing straight into the next great candy haul, Christmas. If I could have done away with the days between trick-or-treating and Santa Claus, you better bet I would have.
Thanksgiving seemed like a big pain anyway. 364 days of the year my parents hated cooking, so there is no reason to believe that they enjoyed a full day of it on that one other day. They rose early, got the turkey in the oven, then slaved away for the rest of the day on side dishes and desserts, which my siblings and I would wolf down off the good china in under 10 minutes. We went through the motions of thanks-giving, but I don't think any of us was ever genuinely reflective--and we had a lot to be grateful for. I am ashamed now of how much I took for granted then.
Thanksgiving in my house today is a lot different. I enjoy cooking, and most of my family does, too. I discovered years ago that when a kid does something more than one time, it can be classified as a "family tradition"--so for a few Thanksgivings now I have had a lot of kitchen help. One of my sons makes cranberry-orange relish. My daughter, who started young by arranging pecans on top of the pie, is now in charge of the whole pie. My youngest son looks forward to (which is crazy) his role peeling all the potatoes at the kitchen sink; and my husband does absolutely everything regarding the turkey. The kids play loud terrible music on a portable speaker, and we all dance around the kitchen. Eating the meal in the end is wonderful, but the best part for me is the preparation.
This Thanksgiving my granddaughter will be there in a highchair for the first time. Old enough now to gnaw on turkey (with her 6 or 7 teeth) and draw with mashed potatoes on her tray. The cranberry relish-making son will be coming home from college for the first time since August, and is bringing his girlfriend and her brother along. It promises to be chaotic and fun.
All this brings me (finally) to the point of this blog: where exactly did Thanksgiving go? On November 1st, I saw the first Christmas advertisements on TV. Ubiquitous scenes of shiny new cars with giant bows on snow-lined drives; young families, resplendent in matching pajamas, beaming next to mountains of gifts or a crackling fire. The shops are already decorated with garlands and candy canes; shelves are stacked high with 2019's must-have hot toys and gadgets. Christmas tree lots will spring up any day--even while autumn leaves are still dangling. Then Thanksgiving Day shopping. Black Friday. Cyber Monday. National Cash Back Day--wait, what the hell even IS that?
I am increasingly a curmudgeon. Or Charlie Brown. Or maybe just old. The pressure to buy into all the holiday perfection hype is so stressful to me, I just shut down. I hate it. And it starts earlier and earlier every year. We are losing November, people! Just stop! I am not a kid anymore. I need every one of November's 30 days, and all the other days of all the other months. I no longer wish to speed through.