The beauty of Thanksgiving is that everyone, for once, sits around the table (hopefully) with few other distractions. It is one of the few non-denominational “family gathering” festivities and really the only 100% Made in USA holiday. There are plenty of polemics that accompany this holiday and its history, but I still want to talk about this day on which Americans, a truly nomadic nation, actually stop and sit down in one place together. For many other nations this happens every evening or at regular intervals and thanks to many different holidays scattered over the calendar year. It’s normal and even taken for granted. In the US, on the other hand, it is more the rule rather than the exception to find a family scattered far and wide with only Thanksgiving allowing for a long enough break to get together.
Despite the push by retailers and brands to use this holiday, as they do with all the other ones that come along, to push their ware, it still remains “unsponsored” (yes, even despite Black Friday) because people gather to be with each other with no pressure to exchange gifts or card. Certainly there is food and probably too much of it and there is football and probably not enough of it, but you do not have to rush to the store to grab some lame stocking stuffer for Aunt Mildred because you completely forgot and it would make for an embarrassing moment if she is the only one left without a trinket.
I am sure there is plenty of grumpiness and pouting and alcohol fueled foot-in-mouth moments (it may also be the Turkey steroids talking), but in general, I appreciate the basic tenet of Thanksgiving gatherings and the fact that it is truly a national holiday that everyone can celebrate.
Ironically, my wife with my son and I will be joining friends for Thanksgiving because as many of you know, both our families live in Italy. But don’t feel too bad for us, as I said before, we have plenty of other chances during the year to meet and bicker loudly, yet melodiously (hand gesticulation and all), as only Italian families can.
I am sure that next week will be hectic for everyone (especially the cooks) so I want to wish an early Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and I hope you can all sit down with friends and family next week and just enjoy the fact that you are all together!