Thanksgiving is a fly-over holiday. While other holidays, such as Valentine's Day, have an entire month's worth of ramp-up --and special heart-shaped candy to boot -- year after year this noble-sounding, federally-approved holiday is relegated to a mere day's worth of turkey-munching and football-watching, followed by a trail of stores selling acorn-shaped soup bowls and autumn leaf wreathes that are marked down to clearance prices an hour after they're put on the shelves.
Here's my list of the top five reasons why Thanksgiving has become a fly-over holiday. it will take you longer to read this than Thanksgiving actually lasts.
5. Bad juju.
The idea of well-scrubbed pilgrims in those big hats and buckle-shoes inviting the noble savages with the feather headdresses and spiffy loincloths to dine on turkey, corn and the ancient precursor to Stove Top stuffing is the kind of picturesque scene that makes for beautiful paintings and watercolor greeting cards, but the unfortunate reality of America's infancy is actually more like a Tarantino movie, complete with plot twists, betrayals and a big helping of blood, guts and gore. As a guilt-provoking holiday, Thanksgiving is beaten out only by Columbus Day, and perhaps this is why people today just wanna scarf their pumpkin pie, watch the tube for a few hours, and forget the native land-grab in favor of seeing which family member can eat the most Cool-Whip without harfing into a scarecrow-decorated dinner napkin.
4. It's in a tight spot.
From a marketing perspective, Thanksgiving would easily qualify as a why-bother holiday, because it's squeezed between two major marketing bah-boom holidays: Halloween and Christmas. Selling bushels of candy and gobs of costumes from September to the end of October, then more candy, gifts, plastic trees and strings of LED lights shaped like reindeer from early August until the end of December, is the fat cash bump that that companies look forward to all year long, and use to prop up flagging sales the rest of time. Thanksgiving is a marketing dead zone -- except for Butterball and Ocean Spray -- because nobody dresses up in costumes for Thanksgiving (no, sweatpants don't count) and candy corn is fucking disgusting.
3. Same meal--different holiday.
Traditional Christmas and Thanksgiving meals aren't too terribly dissimilar in the U.S., and aside from the turkey/ham main course switcheroo, both dinners are predictable to the point of ennui. What makes Thanksgiving dinner special, exactly? Both days of holiday fare generally include a large hunk of roasted flesh -- or tofurkey/stuffed butternut squash for the meatless folks -- as well as mashed potatoes, gravy, some sort of heat-and -serve bread, veg-times-two, and a can-shaped roll of cranberry sauce. Even the "schluuurk" sound of the sauce leaving the can is old news. Two mundane holiday dinners in a row, with the last one being marginally less boring by the presence of a layer cake -- hopefully of the rum-laden variety -- equals yawn.
2. Family prequel.
Thanksgiving also has the ignominious task of forcing everyone to deal with their family members before Christmas, without the benefit of boozy eggnog, rum punch, and the opening of gifts to kill time and break up the annual political, religious and inter-clan, gossipy ear-homicide that no one looks forward to. There should be a federal law banning extended family get-togethers before and directly after Christmas, and an accompanying mandate that clearly outlines the massive amount of liquor, beer and wine that should be present during these groupings. Here's hoping our relatives truly do fly over the states we live in on Thanksgiving, and continue on until they reach vacation spots far, far away -- at least until December 25, when they mitigate their visits by bringing gift cards and those little baskets filled with dried apricots.
1. It's a pit stop before Black Friday.
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Thanksgiving these days seems like little more than a fueling stop for Black Friday, and converting mounds of marshmallow yams into energy for bashing people with shopping carts is more of an American tradition than giving thanks for the piles of shit we already have. That bulky turkey dinner with all the trimmings is what gives good, hard-working Americans the extra vitality and vigor they need to make sure they can leap over end caps in a single bound, crush the skulls of anyone trying to black them from the game-console displays, and run the hundred-meter dash toward plasma screen TVs on sale for ten dollars.