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Contact Nani at chroniclesofnani@gmail.com
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

War On What Now?

In the very first chapter of George Orwell’s 1984 it speaks of the ongoing war. In fact it’s one of the ways the people are controlled. They are always at war. Who with changes and allies become enemies, enemies become allies and more troops are sent to the front lines. It distresses me how familiar that sounds and I checked references to make sure I wasn’t confusing today’s news with the book. Alas, that scenario matches both.

But I’m not writing today to lament how Orwell’s fiction from the mid-20th Century, which should have been a warning to governments, seems to be used as a manual. I’m writing to talk about war, my personal issue with a war that I’ve been troubled by for a good 20 years or more; The War on Thanksgiving.

I’m not talking about the stores that are open on the holiday or the insanity of the start of holiday shopping season which was dubbed “Black Friday” by Philadelphia police in the early 60’s because the mad shopping day made it an awful work day. It’s relatively recent that advertisers have turned the name around to make it more positive and a sales tool. It's still means an awful work day to hourly workers. Like the Winston, the main character in Orwell’s book, I think there’s always been a war on Thanksgiving. I remember a time when that must not have been true because there was a year when it was shocking that someplace had put out Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving, but that was so long ago.

You see, Thanksgiving was always the big family holiday to me, even more so as I got older. First off Thanksgiving was the meal my parents hosted. My aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents from both sides of the family came to our house for the feast. I remember the traditional turkey with our family stuffing, the pickle and olive plates and pumpkin pie dessert to celebrate the American holiday plus the breaded chicken and pork chops from Mom’s side of the family, a first course of cappelletti soup and espresso with dessert from Pop’s side. As adults with the cousin tier starting to marry off the dinner tradition changed, the numbers of people and the times they were at dinner changed,

Thanksgiving dinner became Grandma’s dinner after she and Papa retired and moved “up north.” Then Thanksgiving Dinner became a trip “over the freeway and through the woods by the lake.” That’s when the war really started for me. Grandma asked me to bring paper plates and napkins for the dessert table. I realized it was getting harder and harder to find paper Thanksgiving supplies. In the late 1990s I became obsessed with a quest for a paper turkey centerpiece. You know, the full unfurling turkey tail in tissue paper on a cardboard turkey frame? I remembered seeing them in tons of places with the Thanksgiving party supplies when I was a kid. I tried CVS, K-Mart, even a couple of Hallmark shops. It was two weeks before Thanksgiving and there was no turkeys anywhere, just Christmas decorations. I finally found my paper turkey at a party supplies store in a little display nestled into aisles and aisles of Christmas stuff.

Tissue turkey tail opened

 I guess I get it; Christmas is a bigger money holiday than Thanksgiving. But Thanksgiving has always been the most special holiday to me because there are no church obligations, no presents, no imaginary symbols to protect the children from hearing truths about for another year, Thanksgiving is just a holiday for time with the family, it’s food and togetherness, being thankful for having enough of the things that really matter and nothing else. It’s a true American holiday too. Seriously, Christmas is a federal holiday because the majority Christians way back all took Christmas off or just didn’t work. Christmas is a federal holiday to keep it from being a federal disaster day. Thanksgiving is a real American holiday, perhaps the most important one because it doesn’t celebrate our nation’s independence, it recognizes the abundance that independence affords us; it recognizes peace over destruction of people.


Maybe that’s what happened to Thanksgiving. We’re at war with everything. War on drugs, war on women, war on poverty, war on Wall Street and of course the war on Christmas which claimed a commercial war on Thanksgiving long ago. The war on Thanksgiving is not a new retail thing. Stores are just opening on Thanksgiving now because were letting Commercial Christmas win the war on Thanksgiving it has always been fighting. We’ve abused the word war so much that it means nothing anyway. The things we're "at war" as meaningful as what you do when you "keep calm." Thanksgiving, thanks for our people, for abundance, recognizes that we gain more from peace within our shores than we do from war. We do need to figure out how to make “war” a mean word again but all I’m asking for right now is a paper turkey and peppermint mocha to wait a few weeks so there’s a little more pumpkin spice coffee to have with pie.

For three more weeks, Happy Thanksgiving!




4 comments:

joanne said...

very well said! I agree with you...push Christmas back in it's place and let's enjoy the turkey and pumpkin pie!

I looked all over for a t-day tablecloth today and could find nothing that wasn't Christmasy. Nothing. I feel like your little paper mache turkey!

Christine Kajfasz said...

Unfortunately, all it takes is one person to decide they want to get a jump on the Sales and it forces everyone else to feel the need to follow suit or miss the boat.

I just hope those opening on Thanksgiving make it their personal
choice and let their employees decide if they need to be with their family or use it as a tool to climb out of financial difficulty and hopefully take another day to spend with their loved ones.

Before long after Christmas sales and Black Friday will begin on the same day... Lets hope not:)

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I love Thanksgiving dinner with the family. We do not live close to any family but our own little gathering is so special to me. True enough it is overlooked in the stores! We are celebrating Thanksgiving with our children the weekend before this year so we can be with my husbands side of the family in Houston this year.

Edna B said...

Nani girl, I so agree with you! I was able to find Thanksgiving paper goods and decorations though at The Christmas Tree shoppes. (imagine that!!)

This shop carries things for every holiday and is a super fun store to visit.

The past several years, one of the dwarfs and I (or more) have shopped for and cooked our Thanksgiving meal and sat down to dinner together as a family of sorts.

The dwarfs (tenants) all come from different backgrounds. Some have family not too far away, and others do not. We have a unique living situation, so we usually end up sitting down together as an odd sort of family. It's really nice.

We don't put up any Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving has come and gone. Yes, I shop and wrap, but I don't mail until we're into December.

I am very thankful for all that I have, and it would be nice if Big Business would feel the same and respect our Thanksgiving holiday.

You have a fabulous day, hugs, Edna B.