The turkey has been purchased and is getting ready to thaw, pies, yams, stuffing fixings all line the table of my kitchen in prep work for my favorite holiday Thanksgiving. My excitement is hard to contain because it really is my favorite holiday. Then on TV I saw people are already getting in line for Black Friday, and it got me thinking…
What ever happened to good old fashioned Thanksgiving? You know family, friends, feast, fun and rest? For millions of Americans Thanksgiving means shoving down your dinner so you can get to bed early so you can get in line at 2:00am to Get a “deal”.
I am not judging, but on a personal level I find it hard to believe that millions of people will be digesting a massive meal and then turn around and sacrifice their time, energy and even dignity to be part of the mobs that shove, push, pull and cause harm to others all in the name of peace on earth and the spirit of Christmas. People have been trampled to death on black Friday. That doesn’t seem to stop the retail horrors so many people put themselves through.
Thanksgiving for many used to be about being thankful and not in a hurry to show your love to your family and friends by purchasing tons of gifts. In fact, in the 60s, President Johnson proclaimed Thursday a day of national thanksgiving, called for prayers that “the forces of violence, indifference and intolerance may soon vanish from the face of the earth.”
From the 20s clear to the 60s people spent more time making Thanksgiving traditions front and center stage. In fact, it was a time for decorations and making the home look warm and inviting. The turkey itself became a decoration, but in the 20s manufacturers started to create items like elaborate centerpieces and themed place card holders. That’s was because you “dressed” your table. You dressed yourself and it was a holiday that was honored.
Thanksgiving accessories became the latest thing for the family table. Napkins and other paper decorations that has images of turkeys, Pilgrims, and other festive prints first appeared in the 1940s. Then in the late 40s and 50s, holiday candles in the shape of traditional Thanksgiving symbols became very popular.
What was even more popular was the fact that so many families believed in tradition. It wasn’t about shoving your food down so you could go to bed at 7:00pm to get up and get in line at the electronic store or the big box stores at 2:00am.
In fact, many families talked about Christmas and what they would make for gifts and about the festivities that would accompany the holidays to come. There were far more family activities and gathers during the old fashioned Thanksgivings of the past.
Desert and football would be part of the traditional event as would the beginning of the preparation for Christmas. Lights, decorations, and talk of hosting gatherings all were discussed. It was rare that a family in the 50s would talk about getting to best buy or camping out in freezing weather to get their wants and desires met.
I still believe in the retro Thanksgiving where we invite peopleover and we stay up late, we snack and talk and then sleep in late the next day because we can. We spend the day and nibble or, in some cases, we cook two holiday dinners just because we can.
We begin to talk about what gifts we are going to make and what donations we want to do this year. I love the retro Thanksgiving because it’s not about getting ready to spend money on gifts that are rarely used, it’s about spending quality time with the people you love and the food you enjoy.
So here’s to a happy Retro Thanksgiving however you enjoy spending it…