Why Thanksgiving is the Red-Headed Stepchild of the Holidays

Why Thanksgiving is the Red-Headed Stepchild of the Holidays

I was going to work on a “growing gratitude” post for Thanksgiving this last weekend, but then the accounting that I’d been working on all weekend vanished in the spinning (yet colorful!) pinwheel of frozen death. All is well now, but by the end of the experience, my brain was mushy from number-crunching and I felt very little space in my little hard heart for giving thanks.

But! It’s a new day.  And it’s November, even through there’s little evidence here in L.A., where I’m still wearing a tank top on my morning run.  I wanted a reminder of the season, something to trigger a space in my soul that we’re approaching our celebration of gratitude.

Every December, I faithfully watch “Little Women” and Barbara Stanwyck’s “Christmas in Connecticut” to get me in the holiday spirit, but I don’t have a go-to for Turkey Day. Looking for a list of Thanksgiving movies, I find there is a dearth of delightful classics. I guess I could watch Katie Holmes battle her family, a turkey, and heavy eyeliner in “Pieces of April.”  But it doesn’t cut it.  Nor do the giant retailers: The day after Halloween, Starbucks and CVS had Christmas décor lining the aisles, pumpkin flavored everything making way for Christmas blends and blinky lights.

What happened to Thanksgiving to make it the redheaded stepchild of the holiday calendar? And how can we reclaim it, and give it its rightful place on the calendar and in our shopping malls?

Ah – that explains it.  We don’t buy much for Thanksgiving.  It’s the anti-retailer holiday.  People actually go out of their way to volunteer at a homeless shelter this one Thursday of the year. There’s no undercover mascot like a “Secret Santa” to send us to stores to buy electronics for a co-worker we’ve never met.

That’s the beauty of Thanksgiving – we gather bearing casseroles and time-honored cranberries from a can to over-eat and remind ourselves that even without the gifts under the tree or the mad dashes for last minute trinkets, we are grateful.

Another way to find gratitude is to dig in the dirt. Caring for and growing your own food and flowers is a great way to connect with the daily cycle of your life, to press pause on your busy day and check in on your plants. If you’re looking to grow some traditional Turkey day items, take a look at last year’s “Growing Gratitude” post on cranberries and mindful eating, the history of the squash as inspired by Little Women, or the history of carrots and a link to growing your own.  It’s also a great idea to create your centerpiece from your own garden – explore in your garden and get creative with your greens.

Tell us how you plant to grow some gratitude this November.  Leave a note in the comments, or head over to Twitter! @RebeccaSnavely & @TheCityFarm.

(Photo Credit:  Sad Turkey via Snippets & Slappits)