So, Thanksgiving has come and gone, and now it is time to hunker down and prepare for the big December Holiday rush that we all get caught up in, with or without any religious denomination. I hope everyone has survived Black Friday, with money still in the bank and without having to think of it as Black and Blue Friday. I understand that the competition for getting that favorite gift at the lowest price on the official opening day of the shopping season can sometimes become a day of not just crowds, but of brawls.
The holidays are challenging, because we face this uncomfortable dilemma of having to reckon with both our self and our family. It is proscribed that the rest of the world is meeting for friendly family gatherings, so if we choose not to we somehow become societal outcasts or unacceptably belligerent. Maybe; maybe not.
I have always preferred the Thanksgiving holiday over Christmas, or I should say, always since being an adult. I generally give the classic reasons for this. You know, there’s not the pressure of all that gift giving. Thanksgiving, in it’s ideal form, is truly a gathering within the loving embrace of family, and sometimes others; a gathering where we get to reflect and truly be grateful for the things we have, big or small, for which we know we can express true thanks. There is not the distasteful materialistic hype and pressure that is associated with Christmas, and the more secularized version of the December Holiday. There is not the pressure to know which of these you should be talking about when you greet people, the religious holiday (Christmas) or the secular holiday (The Holidays). Yet, I think there is, in addition, a somewhat more cynical reason for my preference for Thanksgiving.
The escape from family can be quicker at Thanksgiving. It is one meal on one day; the end. Well, I guess not entirely, the end. There is some pretty major preparation and clean up; maybe a day and a half total! Now don’t get me wrong, I truly love my family. I am very happy for the rest of the world creating a cause for our family reunion, which we do not otherwise have the ability to create for ourselves. And yet, there is this uncomfortable piece about “the family”. The pulsation of love them, can not stand them. Love them because they are the only people on the face of the earth that are unconditionally there for me, and who in their own bizarre, and not entirely accurate way, understand me. Can not stand them, because they are this very uncomfortable mirror that reflects me and how I got to be me. This pulsation gives both a powerful draw to them, and a feeling of intolerance as well. It is all the unique things that I understand and love and am proud of about my family that creates the draw, and at the same time, it is the intolerance of their craziness and knowing that I can get away quickly that makes Thanksgiving my preference. It is my fantasy too, that nobody else’s family can create quite the combination of meal and conversation that I live for on Thanksgiving.
So I indulge in this moment to offer thanks to my family. Thank you to my parents for having me and loving me. Thank you to my brothers for providing a loving model for my children of that gender with whom I have so much trouble making healthy intimate contact. Thank you to my children for being the best children that a mother could dream of having. Thank you to the rest of you, all of my family, who have loved me and made me who I am today.
With much love for a Happy, Healthy, and Meaningful Holiday Season for all. Donna