I’m not going to lie. When I’m wished a “Happy Turkey Day,” I cringe.
It’s not that I have anything against turkey–I find it to be delicious and consume it regularly throughout the year. And I don’t have anything against Thanksgiving itself. In fact, I love it, which is precisely the reason the moniker “Turkey Day” irritates me.
The problem with saying “Happy Turkey Day” is that it puts the focus on the day’s superficial elements and off the idea of giving thanks.
To my knowledge, I did not attend the First Thanksgiving, but I did attend American public schools, which means I am an expert on the topic (especially tracing my hand to draw a turkey), and from those thirteen years in historical academia, I gathered that the original reason for the celebration was the relationship between the Native Americans and Pilgrims.
The Pilgrims (who chose their name due to their enthusiasm for John Wayne films) left England in search of a better life, one of religious freedom and less tabloids about the Gallagher Brothers. However, when they arrived in America, they continuously failed at living off the land because there was no Starbucks or Wi-Fi anywhere. There were no apps on their iPhones for growing corn or not dying from scurvy. They’d already run out of duct tape while building a cool fort on the Mayflower, and thus had crude shelters unsuitable to withstand El Niño. They were dropping like flies shot by a proficient fly marksman.
My wife and I had narrowly escaped the house with the Twins intact. We’d fed and bathed them in a hurry so we could make it on time to Thanksgiving 2: This Time, It’s Leftovers at my wife’s mother’s house, and were now en route, listening to the soothing sounds of choral squawks from the back seat over the jingle-jangle of Arizona’s perpetual Christmas music radio station.
Glancing downward at her leg, my wife felt her jeans. “My knee’s still wet from when I pulled him out of the tub and dried him,” she chuckled.
“Yeah, well, that’s better than finding poo smears on your sleeve.” I’d had to change my shirt after changing Twin diaper loads.
“Can you imagine how awesome it’s going to be when the kids can walk and we can just tell them to step out of the tub themselves?”
“Yeah, that’ll be nice.” I mused. “But that also means they’ll be able to step out of the tub whenever they want.”
“…Nuh-uh. We’ll hold them down or something.” But even she herself didn’t sound convinced.
I eyed her with a grin. “Mo’ money, mo’ problems, babe.”
This is usually the time of year I ask inanimate holiday store displays to at least wait until Black Friday to assault me with their raised red and green elven fists. Don’t get me wrong–Christmas is my favorite holiday. I’ve just always felt that when stores crank up the Jingle-Bell Muzak while vampire costumes and Jack-O-Lanterns are still in stock, it undermines the experience of Halloween and Thanksgiving–both excellent holidays in their own right–all to make a few extra bucks. Plus, decking the halls that early and intensely has often left me tired of open-fire chestnut-roasting, intentionally-kitsch reindeer sweaters, and that impressively obnoxious Mariah Carey song long before the actual December 25.
At least that’s what I used to think.
As a parent, you rediscover to the wonder the world inspires. You see things “again for the first time” through your children’s eyes. And that’s why this year is different. This year, my wife and I will be giving the Twins their First Christmas Ever, and we are so psyched for it that we’ve been discussing its grandiose possibilities since June.
This fervor was recently amplified by the arrival of the Target Holiday Toy Sale catalog.