Why I hate Thanksgiving

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I don’t hate the day.  I hate the idea.  The day will be pretty epic.  For me, it’s the first holiday get together hosted and attended exclusively by Generation 2.0.  Like I said.  Epic.  Food will be weird random stuff plus some old favorites.  That part of thanksgiving I love.  I hate the idea that Thanksgiving should have some deep intrinsic meaning steeped in history and tradition.  I hate the war that Thanksgiving must fight to be able to find a place for itself between Halloween and New Year.  I hate the cheap and superficial historical narrative that thanksgiving embodies.  I hate the fact that Thanksgiving has the same cheap over-commercialized motifs that have driven the other holidays into little more than themed shopping parties.  Mostly though, I hate the thanks.

It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with gratitude.  Quite the contrary, I think it’s a fundamental attribute of the human condition.  I hate that we’ve set aside a day purely for thanks as if our obligations for gratitude can be met by a feasting over the course of single day instead of a constant ongoing mental state.  It goes hand in hand with my hatred of the fact that we pick the 30 or so days between thanksgiving and christmas to be charitable.  If you’re being thankful out of a sense of holiday obligation then you’re not expressing gratitude.  You’re participating in a mindless ritual.  The Holiday is about you, about how you feel when you sit down to feel good that you’re the kind of person who would take some time to feel thankful for your stuff.  It’s also a time to spend a few cathartic moments in some self-righteous guilt that you haven’t done as much as you could have for others.  Sort of like how you’re fighting the war on poverty by finding a few cans of in the back of the cupboard that you haven’t used in a while and donating them to a food bank.  Sort of like how you can pretend to have a deep meaningful relationship with people you see once every other year.  Yeah.  I hate that.

So no, I’m not going to spend the day in a semi-religious state being thankful for the things I have.  I’m going to hang out with my new wife, my little sister, and my kick-ass future brother in law.  Because I would do that anyway.  I will revel in the new and interesting kinds of food, because I do that all the time.  I will spend time with my family because I want to continue to be the kind of person who does that every day of the week.  Thursday I just get to sleep in a little.

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