‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house … the Christmas decorations had been hung by the chimney with care for at least a week. At my neighborhood mall, the “holiday” lights were up even before Halloween. This image of a turkey and a pumpkin as a Christmas ornament perfectly captures that unfortunate overlapping of seasons.
The public display is all for marketing, of course. It’s the same strategy that has turned “Black Friday” sales into “entire month of November” sales. Now, I’m just as prone as any consumer to being seduced by a bargain (my Instant Pot from Amazon is almost exactly two years old), but I’m dismayed at the blurring of boundaries of the celebrations themselves.
To me, Halloween is the cosplayer’s favorite holiday (next to the Masquerade on Saturday night at Comic-Con). Unless one is costumed as a Christmas tree (as I was in my first year of teaching, including working strings of lights), people should be free from even a hint of the December festivities. The November 1 Day of the Dead commemorations also deserve our full attention. Not this year, I guess. 😦 I think retailers were spooked by the relatively late Thanksgiving that shortened the number of shopping days before Christmas. So they overcompensated by moving up Black Friday, the traditional start of the shopping season, and virtually ignoring Thanksgiving altogether.
I also love Thanksgiving (I’ll save discussion of revisiting the Pilgrim narrative for another post.) It represents family and food and relaxing (not shopping) together over a long weekend. My school site has deemed Thanksgiving a break from homework, but procrastinating seniors will undoubtedly polishing their University of California applications. My favorite special meal is roast turkey with all the fixings, followed by leftovers for days. I’m not so devoted to the desserts, though, but I love me some dark meat, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce. And I take the most pleasure in cooking it in my own kitchen.
Sadly, I feel that this year the spirit of Thanksgiving has been lost in the hype of bargain hunting for Christmas. And, thus, so has the spiritual meaning of Christmas been swallowed up in commercialism. I’m not feeling the solemnity or joy any less; it’s just that all the ads are more shrill.
I guess my message is to savor the Thanksgiving spirit to its fullest. Let’s begin the Christmas season next Monday (which happens to be Cyber Monday).