Long Live Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a holiday created by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. He created it as a way to give thanks for what we have and to honor "our beneficent father who dwelleth in the heavens."  So, yeah, it was a religious holiday to start out and I'm glad that that aspect of it seems to have fallen by the wayside. It has become a mostly secular holiday devoted partially to taking a day to give thanks for all we have, and largely to gathering with friends and family and feasting on turkey.

What's sad is that the sentiment lasts only one day and the very next day is a relatively new but just as revered national holiday. It is the shameful mess known as Black Friday. This day of excessive materialism is a truer indication of what I see as the American sentiment than Thanksgiving, which is soon forgotten in the near full month of rampant materialism that follows.

I find it odd that just one day after giving thanks for all that we are blessed with, it then becomes important to go buy more stuff.  And the buying frenzy has recently been extended even further with the advent of Cyber Monday to continue the madness.

I feel like Thanksgiving is one of the last unspoiled original holidays. Its message and the rites surrounding it have remained largely unchanged, except maybe for new recipes that emerge each year, like that strange new practice of seeing how many different animals you can stuff into each other before dropping the whole thing into a deep fat frier.

I would like to see the original feelings and intentions of Thanksgiving last as long as the greed and materialism of the upcoming holiday. Here is to Thanksgiving and all it does for us.  Three cheers! Giving thanks and feeling gratitude are well-known ways to improve mental and physical health and increase happiness, whereas rushing around shopping malls, finding parking and fighting to get the lowest prices on the newest gizmos is a destructive path to misery.

Getting together with family is good for us as a society. Celebrating our current position, whatever it is, builds a solid foundation of prosperity and health.

Tomorrow, I'm committed to keeping Thanksgiving going. And I challenge anyone reading this to boycott buying things this weekend. The original Thanksgiving meal in 1621 lasted for three days. But in modern times we're conditioned, even pressured by media to shop and spend our hearts out the very next day. They've got the gaul to claim the future of our economy in dependent on the amount we spend this weekend. Don't fall for it. It's a ploy to get us to spend our money on stuff. Join me in reclaiming gratitude and eschewing the materialism.

In invite you to stay with me in Thanksgiving until Tuesday. Ignore the trappings of "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" which are insulting to the ideals of this great, unspoiled holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Gratitude is healing and greed is corrosive.

The world needs to heal much more than you need those new boots. Who's with me?

If you're trying out a new recipe for your Thanksgiving feast this year, please share it with me. That's the real spirit of the holiday. 


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