My Favorite Holiday
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
It tops Christmas. I've been thinking about holidays--and I plan to post a rant about them on Eat Our Brains tomorrow, about how holidays have become a kind of financial and emotional marathon. I supposed for some people, Thanksgiving is a holiday that fills them with apprehension. There are lots of articles about how to cook for Thanksgiving without losing your mind. For me, the cooking part is not a big deal. And once that expectation is removed, Thanksgiving is a holiday of low or no expectations.
Christmas is fraught with expectations. As is Valentines Day, and increasingly, Halloween. But Christmas most of all. They were putting Christmas decorations up in the seasonal aisle of the grocery on November 1. Pulling bags of candy and replacing them with Christmas ornaments and St Nicks. (The seasonal aisle is the aisle of the grocery where in the summer you can find plastic plates and cups, squirt guns and sunblock, in August that is replaced by back to school stuff. At Easter, it's where the Easter baskets and candies are.) November 1 to December 25 is almost two months. Two months to worry about making a clever wreath out of a coat hanger (above) and the $10 gift exchange at work.
When Adam was a teenager and had discovered irony big time, he used to say at every Christmas, 'This is the best Christmas, ever.' It's a line from a thousand Christmas sit com episodes. And it sums up a lot about Christmas (and Hannukah, which is being dragged into the frenzy. Hannukah used to be a minor holiday, you know. But proximity to the consumer extravaganza that is Christmas has inflated it all out of historical proportion.)
Nobody ever says, 'This is the best Thanksgiving, ever.' Thanksgiving doesn't work that way. Thanksgiving is sort of like a Sunday family dinner just made bigger. Thanksgiving is the holiday where people travel the most. More than Christmas because for Christmas you have to schlep all those presents. Thanksgiving, you can just get an over-priced airline ticket and be somewhere. You sit around, eat and talk. People watch TV. There isn't an aisle of the grocery store devoted to Thanksgiving paraphernalia, just a couple of towers of aluminum foil roasting pans and a stack of tacky autumn-themed platters. I worry though. Places like Crate & Barrel are telling me how to do an Eco Friendly Thanksgiving. I have no problems with the concept of eco friendly, but when it's sold to me, I can see the thin wedge of commercialization creeping in. Pretty soon there will be rituals growing up around Thanksgiving. These rituals will involves more than buying a turkey and a can of cranberry sauce. They'll probably involve annoying hostess gifts, or special tableware or something.
But this Thanksgiving I'm going to have an Orphan Thanksgiving. I've invited people who, like me, are relatively new to Austin. We'll eat, sit around, watch TV. It will be low key. It will be great.