Hill City Elementary students grab an apple before sitting down for Thanksgiving lunch at their school last week. Parents and grandparents were invited to dine with their favorite pilgrims and turkeys at elementary schools across the county on November 19.
Thanksgiving has always been a little different, and we’d go so far as to argue that it’s the best major holiday of the year. But how could Thanksgiving - which is basically a no-frills day off, a lot of food and a few football games - top our list?
•There isn’t too much buildup: Thanksgiving always seems to sneak up on you, which is just fine because you can prepare in a single trip to the grocery store.
•Everyone gets to celebrate: It’s not based on any one particular religion so people of all faiths can get in on the fun – and in a world that seems to get more polarized every day having a day to share with family and friends of all backgrounds is important.
•Long weekend virtually guaranteed: Unlike those roving holidays that can fall in the middle of the week, most people know they’re going to get four days off in a row. Score!
•Variations on a theme: There are two or three different varieties of the same dish. Each year you get to have the same discussion about which aunt’s dressing is the best.
•The world is quiet: Road trips on Thanksgiving Day are special. You head off knowing the only things that will be open are gas stations and Waffle House, which creates this unique quiet we rarely experience in our fast-paced world.
•Napping is allowed: In fact, napping is encouraged. You literally can take one at any point in the day and no one will care. A room of napping people means Thanksgiving was a success.
•Overeating is also encouraged: Clearly America has an issue with overeating throughout the year, but on Thanksgiving who cares? Food guilt doesn’t exist and thirds are expected. How else is that table full of pies going to be eaten?
•You don’t have to decorate and it’s perfectly fine to use paper plates.
•No gifts required: You don’t have to buy people things or wrap them; all you usually have to do is bring some green beans, a casserole, mac-n-cheese or a bottle of wine.
•You can drink said wine in the middle of the day. On a weekday.
•There is a giant cooked bird involved: What other time of year do families prepare a whole bird the size of a small shrubbery?
• It’s okay if your plate has four different starches on it. And cast nasty glances at anyone who asks if something is gluten free.
•Thanksgiving isn’t overly commercialized: Despite retailers’ nasty attempt to use the holiday as a launching pad for Christmas - some going so far as to open on Thanksgiving Day (shame on them) - it doesn’t require a huge monetary investment and there’s typically no shopping done. There’s a lot of turkey and dressing consumed, but we get to take a break from being retail consumers for the day.
•Family and friends: It’s the one day a year when you literally have nowhere else to be and nothing more to do than eat and hang out.
•Taking care of others: So many people work hard to take care of others on Thanksgiving, whether its their extended families or strangers. We know of several local groups who are giving up their Thanksgiving to feed needy or lonely people in town. This giving spirit is what the holiday is about.
•And speaking of giving, it does a soul good to give thanks and contemplate all those reasons we have to be grateful, which we hope you and your family do this year.
As always, Happy Thanksgiving from the Progress!