It was no surprise to me when I heard Christmas music playing in Target on November 5th, since the retail Christmas season seems to begin earlier each year. My initial impulse was to scream out to anybody that would listen that it is NOT, in fact, beginning to look a lot like Christmas, judging by the absence of snow and the lack of the word “December” on the calendars. I passed on this urge, however, because you can’t stop commercialism, plus bizarre public ranting should be saved for Wal-Mart.
This got me to thinking, however, about Thanksgiving, and how it’s been completely trampled by the ever-extending shadow of commercialized Christmas. Think about it, what’s the most identifiable part of Thanksgiving? Black Friday, which is typically associated with Christmas shopping!
It’s not like Thanksgiving doesn’t have anything to offer, either. The entire idea is to sit around, gorge yourself, and watch football. That’s about as American as it gets, yet it’s still being constantly overshadowed by Christmas. It’s as if Thanksgiving is a pushover with low self-esteem, just trying to make everybody happy:
Christmas: Hey, Thanksgiving, you got a minute?
Thanksgiving: Wow! You wanna talk to me?
Christmas: Yeah! We’re best buddies, remember?
Thanksgiving: We are? Then why don’t you invite me to any of your parties?
Christmas: What do you mean? I always do!
Christmas: Of course! The invitations must keep getting lost in the mail or something.
Thanksgiving: Really? Wow! Sorry I doubted you! I’ll have to talk to the post office about that! Now, what’s on your mind?
Christmas: It’s simple. I’ve been thinking that I haven’t yet maximized my true potential as a holiday.
Thanksgiving: That’s terrible! Is there anything I can do?
Christmas: As a matter of fact, there is. I want to use your Friday and turn it into the biggest shopping day of the year. It would go a long way in giving me some much needed additional exposure.
Thanksgiving: I don’t know. Shouldn’t that be a day for families to spend quality time together and be thankful for what they have, instead of trying to accumulate more material possessions?
Christmas: That’s what Thursday’s for! Plus, family togetherness won’t bring in any cash! You gotta look at the bottom line! We’re businesses here!
Thanksgiving: But it seems like that would infringe on the spirit of who I am!
Christmas: Spirit of who you are? Really? C’mon, buddy, just do me a solid, huh? Maybe then I’ll introduce you to some other holidays at one of those parties. You’d like to get to meet…oh I don’t know…Valentine’s Day, wouldn’t you?
Thanksgiving: Valentine’s Day?! You’d do that for me?
Christmas: For sure!
Thanksgiving: Then I’m in!
Christmas: Thanks, pal! Oh, and one more thing, advertising for me is gonna start as soon as Halloween’s done.
Thanksgiving: What?! Won’t people forget about me completely?
Christmas: Vaaalentine’s Daaaaaay…
Thanksgiving: Well…can kids still at least make hand turkeys in school for art projects?
Christmas: I don’t know. That’s a big sacrifice on my part. They could be making snowmen out of marshmallows or something.
Thanksgiving: I guess I see where you’re coming from. Well, how about you just promise me that you’ll think about it?
Christmas: All right. I’ll think about it, but no guarantees.
Thanksgiving: Gee whiz, that’s great news! Thursday’s all yours! Now, when’s the next party?
Christmas: I’ll get back to you on that.
What is comes down to is Thanksgiving needs to grow a spine and stand up for itself, not to mention adopt a new, slick marketing campaign, since you can only fight commercialism with more commercialism. It could start with Thanksgiving carols. Here are a few titles I’ve come up with that I think have the potential to become future classics:
“(Judging By The Massive Amount Of Food Being Cooked) It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Thanksgiving”
“Thomas The Red-Beaked Turkey”
“Have Yourself A Caloric-Filled Little Thanksgiving”
Not bad, huh? Throw in a couple of TV specials, I’m thinking along the lines of a crime-fighting Turkey who saves Thanksgiving from the Evil Dr. Kringle, and we’re in business!
Once this movement begins to gain momentum, it’ll be pretty easy to measure its progress. All you’ll need to do is check Target anytime during November. If you hear “It’s An Even Wonderfuller Time Of The Year”, then Thanksgiving is most definitely on its way.