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.