Thanksgiving: Wherefore art thou?

Thanksgiving Turkey 

I’m cranky.  (Ha!  The seed of all great blog posts.) 

Yes, Imma cranky.  Next week is Thanksgiving.  You remember Thanksgiving, don’t you?  That most bountiful of holidays sandwiched in between the  more commercial blockbusters of Halloween and Christmas.  It seems to have left the building these days. 

Last night Mary Tyler Son and I were walking home from the babysitter when he squealed loudly at the sight of Christmas lights.  He ran ahead to get a better look.  We’ve barely made a dent in his Halloween bag of treats and it’s already time for Christmas.  NO. 

Let’s all decide to put the NO back in November:  NO to premature Christmas.  NO to Christmas music that makes my ears bleed if I hear it before December 1.  NO to holiday sweaters on the racks.  NO to candy canes.  NO to lights on the trees.  NO to Santa Claus.  NO to retailers opening their doors on Thanksgiving, not even having the decency to wait until 3 freaking a.m.  NO.

Truth be told, I hate November.  A few of my facebook friends have waxed poetic about the merits of this month.  “Oh, look, I can see the cranes!”  “I just love the November light . . .”  Are you kidding me?  November sucks.  It is the purgatory of our calendar year.  It is not autumn.  It is not winter.  It just sits there with an ominous foreboding of what is to come in the next twelve weeks.  Old Man Winter is gonna have his way with us here in Chicago and November is his foreplay. 

This month has one thing going for it:  Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving I like.  Wonderful food, wonderful excuse for a day off.  Wonderful opportunity to think about what you have, even when you don’t have much, and feel grateful for it.  The movies start getting better.  I get to applaud the St. Jude Research Hospital “Thanks and Giving” campaign.  You know the one, where they show the bald kids before every movie?  The one where you are encouraged to give thanks for the healthy kids in your life?  The one that makes every Cancer Parent I know cringe?  I have a fantasy where I stand up at the end of that commercial in the darkened theater and shout, “I lost my bald child to pediatric cancer — it happens and it’s real!”  See?  Thanksgiving even makes me grateful for ad campaigns that feature sick children.  It is a holiday I don’t feel oppressed by.  I heart Thanksgiving.

Except it is vanishing.

Last week I went to Kohl’s after dinner.  I was feeling inspired and truly believed I needed a ceramic turkey.  Kind of rustic looking with a retro vibe.  I was certain Kohl’s would have it, and have it at 50% off.  Kohl’s is the most middle-aged of stores, so of course they would have a ceramic turkey.  I walked to that odd section that carries things the middle-aged housefrau likes, and my jaw dropped.  There were a dozen fiberglass pumpkins with clearance tags and row after row of Christmas ephemera.  Crap really.  Snowflakes and ornaments and Santas and jingle bells and angels.  This was November 8, people.  NOvember 8. 

I meandered to the table linen department — yes, more confirmation I am aging — and saw this pattern duplicated with fabric.  A heap of pumpkins on clearance and aisles and aisles of holiday textile cheer.  Bah humbug.  I mean, it’s not as if I missed the Thanksgiving items.  There wasn’t a run on that desired ceramic turkey.  It just didn’t exist.  There were two gals kvetching about the same thing a row over — “I mean, it’s like we go straight from Halloween to Chrismas!”  Word, sister. 

I am on a personal mission to restore Thanksgiving to its rightful place.  Are you with me?  Repeat after me: 

  • I will be grateful, dammit 
  • I will not kowtow to the consumer gods 
  • I will give Thanksgiving its proper due
  • I will teach my kids about Pilgrims and harvesting
  • I will add root vegetables to my diet
  • I will fondly remember the Brady Bunch episode with Alice gnawing her way through an ear of corn
  • I will put the NO back in November

I say YES to Thanksgiving.  I say YES to gratitude.  I say YES to making my relatives feel uncomfortable when they sit at our Thanksgiving table and are required to articulate what they are grateful for this year (consider yourselves warned, dear family).  I say YES to turkey.  I say YES to Thanksgiving. 

Thank you.

24 Replies to “Thanksgiving: Wherefore art thou?”

  1. I could not agree more!!! Here’s a big fat YES to everything you wrote here. Say NO in November – I LOVE THIS!!!! And you! xos


  2. LOVE this post! I say a big YES to Thanksgiving in the San Diego sunshine so my boy and all his cousins can stay the night in our backyard trampoline. And another big YES to spending the entire month of December in a country where Christmas is scarce, along with all of its abhorrent commercial paraphernalia!


      1. You need to come to San Diego – seriously. You and all the other cool Chicago women bloggers come liven up our homogeneous “metropolis” 🙂

        As for India… long flight, but worth the escape from Christmas madness 🙂


      2. If you are still looking for a ceramic turkey try your local antique coop/store, you might also find a few pilgrim candles!


  3. YES.
    You know? I very rarely shop at Kohls. It’s not my cup o’ tea. I’m more of a Target kinda girl, but the hubs and I went to Kohls a few days before our wedding to find some clothes for the wee ones, and I remember seeing Thanksgiving stuff. I swear.
    Want I should buy you a turkey and send it your way? 😉


  4. Oh, and can I just mention how envious I am of you that you said just a few hours ago that you felt a post coming on and then, *POOF*! You write and publish one?!
    Just like that.
    I wanna write like that. I want the words to just flow from my virtual pen onto the virtual page.
    I shall find that motivation someday. 🙂 Thanks for writing!


    1. That would be just under one hour, dear kantal113 — my lunch hour! And thank you. I like to write and it comes easily, most of the time, when it’s happening. My sister hates that about me.

      Thanks for reading! MTM.


  5. you are my favorite writer. please marry me. i love this blog. i want to marry it. i want to wear it everyday like a favorite pair of undies. it’s a hybrid of awesome/hilarous/sarcastic/angergasam and i needed to be inspired today. thank you. xo


  6. November can just go straight to hell – as long as we keep Thanksgiving. I hate that it’s 33 degrees today and I can’t yet bring myself to wear a winter coat; I hate that I sent my kids to school today in sweatshirts instead of winter coats (stellar mom here!); and I *hate* that the “oldies” radio station that plays all the cool 70’s music played a commercial yesterday for cremation services. I am an old, cranky mom! But only in NOvember.

    btw – I’m grateful for many things, including HomeGoods, where I’ll bet you a lemon martini can find your ceramic turkey. xoxo


  7. I say YES to Thanksgiving! Put the NO back in November!

    P.S. I’ll be in Vegas on that day and I’ll be having my turkey at the buffet but I will be thinking about all of you suffering through another fun family get-together. Does this mean I have to take back the little dog playing Christmas carols that I bought the other day?


  8. Get out of my head woman!! Today, I wrote THIS: on my blog. Judging by the fact that Chicago is an hour ahead of us here in TX, I posted it a mere 21 minutes after you published this. I fully support putting the NO back in November and celebrating Thanksgiving. I also support slipping into a tryptophan induced coma at 8:00 pm on Thanksgiving and NOT going shopping. You have 28 whole days to finish shopping — on Thanksgiving you should be thankful for what you’ve got and not planning on how to get more crap.


    1. Okay, no time difference between Chicago and Dallas, so I posted mine a whole 39 minutes before you. Maybe I should have worked a little harder on mine though, yours is better. 🙂


  9. The St. Jude Thanks and Giving campaign gets me every time. My son was treated at St. Jude for a brain tumor in 2003-2004. They saved his life, albeit with deficits.

    One year the sweet face of baby Rayley popped up, astoundingly beautiful, a 4-month old princess and also host to a particularly nasty monster growing behind her forehead, although you’d never know it to behold that beautiful child. My son and I’d met that beautiful baby the year before. She’d passed away in June, a few days after her 1st birthday.

    Her mom was there for the photo and video shoot months before when Rayley was in treatment, and had given permission for Rayley to be in their promotional materials, but nobody had actually told her that Rayley was in the movie theater ads and her first time seeing Rayley was in the theater before a movie.

    It hits me in the gut every time. I applaud what they do, and they’ve given me the gift of my son, we support them financially and in every other way we can but those ads are murder, I’ve run out of the theater in tears more than once.

    Haven’t been to the movies in over a month, but your post is a heads-up, I think I’ll go watch the videos first so I’m ready when I do go. And honestly, the entire holiday season turns me into an emotional basket case every year, I think it’s post-traumatic stress beginning with my niece’s brain tumor diagnosis in 1994 and subsequent death in 1996. Then seven years later, my son and the Christmas we spent in Memphis.

    So much of Christmas is supposed to be about children, but I know too many sad stories now and at the holiday meals, I see the empty chairs, not only the kids but the adults, my grandparents… I suppose the blessing is that I feel closer to all of them at this time of year but still the end result is me = emotional basket case.

    OK, time to retreat back into denial. As for the stores, I do 90% of my shopping at Amazon, free shipping, no sales tax and no sappy music. Bah, humbug.


  10. I hereby declare you honorary Canadians and you can celebrate Thanksgiving with me, the first Monday of October, although minus the Pilgrim kitsch (but my local dollar store had an aisle full of turkey decor)

    This year we had a potluck for a few other holiday ‘orphans’. Started off with a chocolate fondue, segued into a beautiful sirloin tip roast* and then a couple of pies.

    And today I am thankful for a successful procedure yesterday. Hearing the specialist say “I’m confident we got it all”….I feel weightless and FREE. I also feel exhausted and feel like I’ve done nothing yesterday besides sleep.

    *40 dollar roast for 18 dollars with coupons and store discounts. Booyea!


  11. I’m with Cat. Come and join us Canadians for our Thanksgiving. Not that we do it up better but I’m CERTAIN I spotted a ceramic turkey at Walmart last time I was there around our Thanksgiving date.

    I say we take back our holidays! US or Canada be damned! All the commercialism is RUINING EVERYTHING! As the mother of twin 3 year olds, I WANT MEANING BACK IN MY THANKSGIVING!

    So there 😉


  12. Well, I was feeling guilty about NONE of the Christmas shopping being done, and the cards being as yet unordered, but you have given me the courage to say NO to guilt. I will enjoy my Thanksgiving! I will bake pies until we pop! And I will worry about Christmas in DEcember.


  13. I work in a crappy retail store that had a deadline of OCTOBER FIRST to get all the xmas displays up and working…so for the month one side was Halloween,other side xmas…in the same aisle.People made comments,other people however bought a boat load of stuff!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for this post!! I for one love thanksgiving and am instilling that in my children,it’s not all about Christmas from Oct 31st on.


  14. If you are still looking for a ceramic turkey, try your local antiques coop/stores…..the oldies, but goodies are still around. If you are lucky you might find one or two pilgrim candles as well…..


  15. enjoyed your post, sometime you just gotta let it all out. Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you find your ceramic turkey quickly.


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