Once upon a time, we had a perfectly good holiday. It was steeped in tradition, as holidays tend to be. It was non-denominational and based upon the universal notion of pausing to take stock of how much each of us has to be thankful for. How could it possibly be ruined?
I’m not talking about the Thanksgiving when Aunt Glenda drank too much wine and subsequently wet herself. Nor am I referring to when Jimmy Jr. and Cousin Earl stirred things up over at the kid’s table when they staged an epic farting contest. Those events are called “memories” people, and given enough time, they can become ones we cherish (though Glenda may not fully agree).
One sure way to ruin a holiday is to let time-honored traditions be replaced by new things, which may or may not turn out to be tradition worthy. Here are just a few ways that folks have managed to make hash out of our beloved turkey day:
Tradition: Cook an elaborate meal, centered around a sizable turkey, which fills the entire house with a its intoxicating aroma while roasting for hours and hours.
Replaced With: Deep fry the turkey out in the driveway, investing as little time as possible.
Result: Congratulations on taking the turkey cooking chore away from Mom so she’s free to bend the elbow with her sister Glenda. In doing so, you’ve unwittingly pinned the responsibility of turkey cookery on Uncle Phil, who is also known as “Nagasaki Phil” for what he’s done to various cuts of beef at 4th of July barbeques. The timeless aromas of roasting turkey have been replaced by the scent of several gallons of heated oil intermingled with a hint of gasoline from the lawn mower which sits adjacent to the propane tank by the shed. As an added entertainment bonus, there’s a chance Uncle Phil will live up to his nickname and light the dog on fire.
Tradition: Taking time off to reflect on what we’re thankful for.
Replaced With: Squandering precious vacation hours on rampant consumerism.
Result: For many, Thanksgiving has already become nothing but the day before Black Friday, wherein we immediately discard being thankful for what we have and focus instead, on what we want. Since Black Friday can’t come soon enough, America’s heartless retailers have started having stores open on Thanksgiving itself for even deeper discounts. It’s only a matter of time before even deep fried turkey and instant mashed potatoes will not be quick enough for the schedules of bargain crazed shoppers – precipitating the change over to Wendy’s Turkey Gobbler Wrap with a side of fries. At this rate, Halloween will eventually become the start of the Christmas shopping season with Thanksgiving being demoted to the unofficial midpoint of gift buying frenzy.
Tradition: Scores of special side dishes are made and brought by family members from far and wide to accompany the turkey. Oftentimes, these rare culinary gems are only seen on Thanksgiving, due to the closely guarded nature of secret family recipes and the labor intensive realities of making Grandma’s famous creamed onion and mashed rutabaga casserole from scratch.
Replaced With: Increasingly simple and/or instant dishes which require little more than adding the right amount of water and knowing how to use a microwave.
Result: It stands to reason that if you’re going to deep fry a 22 pound turkey in 13 minutes, you can’t spend hours and hours in the kitchen screwing around with the sides. Besides, gourmands agree that the taste of deep fried meat is best complimented by instant mashed potatoes, Stove Top Stuffing, Pillsbury dinner rolls and of course, a freshly opened can of cranberry sauce.
Tradition: Rivalry football games. In the halcyon days of my youth, the football teams of neighboring towns would meet every Turkey Day for bragging rights. Win or lose, we’d return home to the smells of roasting turkey and Grandpa’s White Owl cigar smoldering in the ashtray. Later, a couple of teams from the NFL or college ranks would square off on the TV.
Replaced With: The NFL has totally taken over Thanksgiving football. There may still be some other games played, but you’d never know it. The Lions play someone each year, then the Cowboys play someone else. This year, San Francisco played yet another game after the other two contests were over.
Result: Now that the NFL has cornered the market on televised sports for this holiday, their focus has shifted to covering even more time zones to create constant grid iron action. They’re trying hard to land a team in London, and rumor has it they have plans for franchising teams in Hawaii and on a special floating stadium in the north Atlantic. Let’s hear it for the Fightin’ Cod!
Tradition: The kiddie table
Replaced With: The phasing out of the kiddie table due to hovering parents who can’t stand the thought of their kids being alone. Surely there have been kiddie table lawsuits filed claiming discrimination and/or forced segregation as well.
Result: Letting the kids sit at the table with the grown ups inhibits parents from spending the entire meal talking about this year’s strategy for Christmas gift shopping once they’ve finished speed-eating. This will also give parents insight into what a mediocre job they’ve done teaching the young ones table manners. Honestly, when Little Brittany bit into that Turkey Wrap without holding her pinkies out, I could have just died.
I’d like to go on at greater length about this sad topic, but the time is already running out for my whining about the ruination of Christmas. I hope I didn’t give you indigestion.
24 thoughts on “Stick This Holiday With A Fork – It’s Done”
There are too many truths here, Darling, to add my two shovels- worth. Suffice it to say…you remain the barn-dance partner that wears the finest barn boots. Ever.
In size 15 no less.
I’m with you on all of these, especially the day-long football frenzy and the instant mashed potatoes and Stove Top Stuffing. Nothing much beats real, homemade stuffing. But it’s so nasty for us healthwise, there’s a reason we only eat it a couple times a year. As for stores being open on Thanksgiving, I don’t even take notice because I never shop then or the next day. But it appears there’s a demand for it or else the stores wouldn’t do it. Personally, I like having a day where everything is closed. It’s nice just to stay home and play games with family.
I make two different stuffings: one for the family, using the traditional recipe, and an oyster stuffing, which no one eats but me. The oyster stuffing is delicious, and I’m fine with not having to share it.
Um, yeah, I think I’d pass on that one, too…
Good! Even more for me!
I’m gladiator don’t have an Aunt Glenda.
Gladiator??? Thanks iPhone…remind me not to have you spellcheck my Christmas cards. :p
It was an ironic auto-correct, since I had made a reference to gladiators in one of the pic caption.
It was vibing out…
Considering that my family doesn’t really have much of a Thanksgiving tradition, our last Thanksgiving was positively traditional: no deep fryer, no NFL, no Black Friday. There was even a kids table set aside for people under 50.
Most families have to keep the over-50 set off of the folding chairs, or they’ll need help getting up.
Note to self: No beverages while reading 1point’s posts. “..having whiffed Earl’s air biscuit…” has ensured that I’ll be mopping coffee off my keyboard for the rest of the morning. Thanks, pal. I’m with you on the oyster stuffing, though, so all is forgiven.
Thanks HBZ! Always a pleasure to make someone chuckle, and competitive fart humor seldom fails. I finally killed the last of the oyster stuffing the other day with the last of the gravy – twas sublime.
1point! I’m so glad to see you here. And I couldn’t agree with you more! My BIL actually announced we would not be “wasting time with that gratitude shit” this year, so no going around the table and expressing thanks. I almost cried right in my seat. That was tough for me because this year I felt like I had a lot to be grateful for, but it is his house, his rules. (As you can imagine, he had the football game on all 4 of his giant televisions, so he could see it wherever he turned.) Oy.
I would imagine that going around the table like that could be a beautiful thing, but could also be a potential source of competitive strife. Considering your past year and likely verbal eloquence, it might be tough to go after you without sounding kind of petty.
Spot on post. Too many families don’t get to enjoy the day because they have to go to work. Shopping has become the ‘sport’ of choice for families. Yuck.
It truly is a sad reflection on our society. Not surprising there’s a spike in mental illness during the holidays. Maybe next year I’ll go off the grid for Thanksgiving.
I think I am fortunate, we still do traditional Thanksgivings; three of them no less to accommodate the truly extended by marriages families. This simply means though we get lots of time with lots of family and no Black Friday as we make the rounds from first one family home on Thursday, to the next on Friday to finally mine on Saturday. It works well for us and we have a great time.
We still do Kiddie Tables at all homes.
Our first meal is traditional.
Our second meal is usually ham and fixins
Our third meal is Turkey, with non-traditional sides
All meals are from scratch, no shake n bake
(Rene sent me over)
Loved this entire post. More truth could not be told
Soooooo true about Christmas elbowing aside all the other holidays. And I understand that Halloween is now #2 as far as money spent, so Thanksgiving has become obsolete.
We have hosted my hubster’s family for the last 15 years. My sisters-in-law have been lobbying for the paper plate/carryout route for years, but my dear mother-in-law always got such a kick out of seeing her family silver (which she passed on to us) gleaming on the table with the good china and crystal. This was our first Thanksgiving without her and I’m planning to keep to the old traditions as long as my fingers aren’t too arthritic to polish silver.
If we don’t honor and uphold our traditions, how the hell would we expect others to do so? Speaking of traditions, I just finished draping a million tiny lights all over the bushes out front. I’m tempted to leave them up there after the holidays and keep them unplugged till this time next year. That still counts as preserving a tradition, doesn’t it?
It sure does. I left my nativity scene up on the top of my china cabinet all last year. I told myself it was so I could remember the true meaning of Christmas all year long, and not because I’m lazy. 😉
I’m from Australia and we don’t have Thanksgiving but i could still relate. Yes where the $%^& has the Kiddies table gone. I did my dues at that table now it’s my kids turn.
Truth be told, most of us miss the kiddie table once we’re gone from it for a year or two. The grown up table rarely has farting contests, unless you count Aunt Edna, and she just can’t help herself.