A good friend of mine always had an interesting perspective on American holidays.  He was Turkish and grew up in Turkey and other countries but went to an American school, so when he came here he could blend in easily (he spoke English without an accent) and I always found his observations on American stuff to be fresh and insightful.  He always appreciated Thanksgiving above our other holidays.  Christmas was way too commercial and Easter was fun but not of much significance to him religiously, but Thanksgiving was a time to be with our group of friends – an adopted family in America, as it were.

I held this view until recently.  Last year I talked about how it seems that Thanksgiving has turned into an excuse for gluttony.  This is actually an acceptable part of the culture of Thanksgiving; if you watch the news or read news websites there are features on how to deal with eating too much turkey or whatever on the holiday.  I am not trying to be a wet blanket here, and yes, I will probably overdo it a bit today – in our case there are tons of appetizers where we go – but by the time dinner rolls around I am full and usually eat almost nothing at the formal sit-down part of the day.  Gluttony is the only one of the seven deadly sins that we always dance around – you have to eat, after all – so every meal is a potential opportunity for gluttony.  Thanksgiving almost sanctions it.

This year’s rant is more about the holiday’s place in our culture and how it is has lost much of its bite.  Thanksgiving has been secularized just like other holidays (and keep in mind I am a defender of Santa and the Easter bunny, so I am not a no-fun, super strict person).  I have heard the phrase “give thanks” many, many times in the lead up to today.  Give thanks to whom?  This key part is missing, as is any acknowledgment of the Almighty in reference to the day.  So, in addition to my suggestion that we don’t overdo it on the food front, I have to add – please remember to whom we are giving thanks, and be sure to think about this and give voice to it.  Happy Thanksgiving to all, and more later…

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