What Ever Happened to Thanksgiving?
Note: This is a reprint of a post I published a couple of years ago, but I think it’s still apropos today, so I’m running it again this year.
It’s hard for me to give up old traditions. Am I the only one who has noticed that Thanksgiving seems to have been relegated to the back of the bus these days? I remember the days when, November, not October, was the beginning of the holiday season. First it was Thanksgiving to celebrate the God given bounties we enjoy in this country, and then Christmas to celebrate our Christian heritage.
Now, on or around October 1st, a full thirty days prior to Halloween, we start noticing Halloween decorations going up in the neighborhood, and Halloween candy and other items featured in stores. Then, on Halloween, many employees are in full costume celebrating the pagan holiday of spooks and goblins. When and how, did Halloween get elevated to a stature above that of one of America’s most important holidays? I know Halloween is a fun day for the little kiddies, but it seems to me, that Thanksgiving is being pushed off the calendar.
Don’t misunderstand me, I know we still celebrate Thanksgiving—sort of. I wonder if Thanksgiving still has the meaning today that it did in the days of my youth. I remember the Thanksgiving school pageants. Those pageants taught us kids about the purpose of Thanksgiving. They usually featured Pilgrims giving thanks for the blessings of a bounteous harvest, and the promise of a secure future. And of course the following tune was always sung in the pageants: Over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go; The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh; through white and drifted snow. Over the river and through the woods; to have a first rate play; to Hear the bells, Ting-a-ling-ling; hurrah for Thanksgiving Day.
I wonder if schools still keep up this Thanksgiving tradition, today; or if they, too, have been caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, and have deleted the remembrance of Thanksgiving from the classrooms to focus more on the so-called politically correct “Happy Holidays” and all the goodies the kiddies are gonna get from Santa Claus. I wonder if Thanksgiving still has the meaning today that it did in those days of my youth, or does even Christmas, for that matter.
As I write this post, we are six days into November, and I’ve yet to see anything in the neighborhood, or the stores, that indicates that Thanksgiving is our next holiday. I lament that lost tradition of my youth when, early in November, Thanksgiving Day decorations—not Christmas decorations—went up in stores, homes, and school classrooms.
I remember store windows, being adorned with Thanksgiving decorations that included items such as Pilgrims, Turkeys, and horns of plenty. In school, our teachers hung paper turkeys from the classroom ceilings, and pinned pilgrims on the classroom walls; all for the purpose of reminding us of the hardships the early settlers endured, and to be thankful for the bounties this great nation has afforded us. I think this emphasis on Thanksgiving Day prior to Christmas also helped to keep in perspective, the real meaning of the Christmas season.
Sadly, now days, Thanksgiving appears to have been pushed aside in favor of the commercialized “Christmas shopping days.” One hardly sees any reference to Thanksgiving during November anymore
It used to be in years past, that we didn’t see Christmas decorations (or even many toys, for that matter) in the stores until after Thanksgiving. Now days, we see a Halloween shopping hype beginning on the first day of October, and the Christmas hype begins on November 1st, 55 days prior to Christmas; but very little about Thanksgiving is mentioned during this period—except for something that deals with the stress of cooking that big dinner.
This modern hype we see today, in my estimation, has affected our thinking about the entire holiday season. The true meaning of Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas, is being replaced with a happy go lucky, good time Charlie, attitude.
The reverence of the Savior’s birth is being replaced by a “Happy Holidays” spirit of ski trips to the mountains, ocean cruises, European Tours; big screen TVs, I-pods, and the latest computer technology. The more money spent the better(so-called “Black Friday” is an example of this). The holiday season of Thanksgiving and Christmas is being relegated into nothing more than a 55 day shopping spree.
I’ve read reports that say the Thanksgiving/Christmas season has become one of the most stressful times of the year. It ought to be one of the most peaceful of times. I wonder what the effect would be if everybody took most of the money they normally spend during the so-called “Happy Holidays” season on things they really don’t need, and gave it to the Salvation Army, their church, or some other worthy charity. Pretty good, I bet. It’d be one of the best stress relievers I can think of, and we’d all get most of our Christmas shopping done in less than thirty minutes.
Speaking of stress relievers, if you are someone who still clings to the old traditions and embraces memories of the past, perhaps you might enjoy the adventures in the book, Buddy…His Trials and Treasures. It entails the adventures of a young boy growing up in rural America during the 1940s. Buddy’s trials are the penance he must pay for his mischievous antics; the treasures are the lessons he learns from his penance. You can click on the free download button at upper right on this page and receive a free copy.
Happy reading and have a Happy Thanksgiving. 🙂
P.S. At the risk of my sounding like a hypocrite, if after you have read this piece, you still feel you’d like to give that special someone a gift for Christmas this year, the above mentioned book can also be purchased at amazon.com in print version. Sorry, it’s not available for e-reader devices. 🙂
For those who enjoy political thrillers or Western novels, you can also check out two others of my novels at amazon as well. Just type in Will Edwinson and they will pop up.