Will Edwinson

Author & Storyteller

Has Thanksgiving Been Pushed To The Back Of The Bus?—A Rerun

Roast Turkey

Image courtesy of tiverylucky/Freedigitalphotos.net

I wrote about this topic last year, but I think it’s worth revisiting again. Am I the only one who has noticed that Thanksgiving  seems to have been relegated to the back of the bus these days?

It’s hard for me to give up old traditions. 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 neighborhoods, and Halloween candy and other items featured in stores.

Then, on Halloween, many employees are in full costume celebrating what I think is a pagan holiday of spooks and goblins.  When, and how, did Halloween trump one of America’s most important holidays? Some justify this enamoration  of Halloween  by saying  it’s connected to All Saints Day or All Hallows Eve, celebrating  Christ’s victory over death.  I’ll have to think about that one.  I don’t know if I buy that explanation or not. Halloween is a fun day for the little kiddies, I know, but it seems to me, that  Thanksgiving is being pushed off the calendar. The Grim Reaper

 Don’t misunderstand me, I know we still celebrate Thanksgiving—sort of.  But I wonder if Thanksgiving still has the meaning today that it did in the days of my youth.   In those days, on, or around the first of November,  Thanksgiving Day decorations—not Christmas decorations—went up in stores, homes, and school classrooms to remind us of this very important holiday.

The MayflowerI remember store windows, being adorned with Thanksgiving decorations that included items such as the Mayflower, Pilgrims, Turkeys, and horns o’ plenty.   Teachers decorated their classrooms   with those items to remind us kids of the hardships the early settlers endured, and to be thankful for the bounties this great nation has afforded us.  I think that emphasis on Thanksgiving Day prior to Christmas also helped to keep in perspective, the real meaning of the Christmas season.  Now days, down come the Halloween decorations, up go the Christmas decorations.

I also 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, because Thanksgiving is a time for family gatherings,  the following  song was always sung in those 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.

It used to be in years past, that  we didn’t see Christmas decorations, or even many toys, 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 55 days prior to Christmas on November 1st,; but very little about Thanksgiving is mentioned during this period—except for something that deals with the stress of cooking that big dinner.Bread Rolls

  Thanksgiving appears to have been pushed aside in favor of the commercialized “Holiday shopping spree.” One hardly sees any reference to Thanksgiving during November these days (or if there is any mention of it, it’s only once or twice during the month of November.

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. It’s not even referred to as Christmas shopping anymore; it’s holiday shopping.

The gratitude for blessings we’ve enjoyed during the last two and a quarter centuries, and 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, I-pads, Smart Phones, and the latest computer technology.  The more money spent the better.   The sanctity of Thanksgiving and Christmas is being relegated to nothing more than a 55 day shopping spree followed by massive bouts of depression when the credit card bills for all the money spent start coming in.

 Three Wise MenI’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 cut back on all this frivolous spending during the so-called “Happy Holidays” season on things they, their families,  and friends,  really don’t need, and, instead, 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.  The added bonus to that would be, no buyer’s remorse to haunt us later .  Do I practice what I preach?  To a certain degree, yes.  Since my resources are more limited now than they once were, I’ve cut back on what I spend on family, and try to send a contribution to church and charity.

 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.  And to show you I practice what I preach, you can click on the free download button at upper right on this page and receive a free copy of the book and all the  stories.

LouIsa Cover PhotoAlso, if you enjoy Western stories,  or if you still feel you must spend money during this season on friends and relatives who enjoy Western stories, you might watch for my new novel entitled LouIsa—Iron Dove of The Frontier,coming later this Fall.  You can bounce on up to the “Books” page, or the “In The Works” page, and read about the book, and even read a few excerpts.

Happy reading and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

   —Will

 

 

 

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