Why Thanksgiving Is The Real Christmas

Barack Obama distributes food to the needy at St. Columbanus Parrish



There is something about Christmas, especially if it comes on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, that is a bit of a downer. The entire day reaches its climax about 10 am, when all of the gifts have been opened, and the commercial glow has begun to fade, until nothing is left but scraps of wrapping paper lying about amid the stacks of new belongings. Christmas dinner is often joyous, but strained, as if its participants can already feel those credit card bills in the mail, or wonder how they are going to juggle the bills they didn’t pay to create that temporary commercial glow earlier in the day.

If Christmas is on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, a lot of people are going back to work the next day. If it's on a Friday, they are slipping into a bit of a funk – the same people who just finished stacking up their new belongings now want to go out and buy even more stuff, because its…well, because everybody knows stuff is cheaper after Christmas.

In the last ten years or so, as I focused less on the material things in life and more on the experiences I could have, I started to notice more clearly the mixed messages the Christmas holiday czars were sending as they attempted to fuse religion, family tradition, and materialism.

Thanksgiving, by contrast, is unambiguous. It is all about the family. And it is always on a Thursday, which means that a lot of non-retail related workplaces have given up trying to schedule any real work during this time, making this America’s only official four day holiday period.

The phrase “giving thanks” seems to actually mean something when people say it at Thanksgiving. For a lot of us, it is a beginning of that end-of-the-year contemplation, where we go through informal self assessments as to what we’ve accomplished, and what remains undone. The focus of the day is on food, shared with people you are related to by blood or people to whom you’ve chosen to be related. No one is obligated to bring anything other than a dish, an empty stomach, and a sense of goodwill.

We catch up; we reminisce; we watch football; we tell tall tales. We play games; we take pictures; we exchange email addresses. We celebrate new beginnings, and cherish the memories of those who are no longer with us.

I would swap this Thanksgiving spirit...


Barack Obama entertains grade school children at St. Columbanus Parrish



...in a minute for the one I feel at Christmas. Newsvine Digg It! Stumble Delicious Technorati Tweet It! Facebook

3 comments:

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Amazing that Barack took time to do this, and he really didn't have to since he's no longer running for Prez. I love that he got his kids and wife involved too.

It's so peaceful and quiet now at my home and I'm thankful for that. Happy Thanksgiving, Brown Man.

JayFilomena said...

I hear that Hitler also gave presents to the Hitler youth, and was a loving and giving person to those around him. Just don't be on his bad side. Maybe some day we will be able to see Barak for what he really is, and not a photo opportunity he staged for improving his image. A communist is a communist and anyone who would like to "spread the wealth around" is going down the path of many of the worlds greatest dictators.

Brown Man said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Kit! (Brown Man eats three day slow cooked cooked barbecue from the deepest part of South Carolina's Pee Dee region on Thanksgiving and Christmas - me and turkey just don't have no reason to know each other.)

And to everybody else who comes here today!



Brown Man

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