Monday, September 11, 2006

Turkey day...go away

Thanksgiving...Hmmm...I think I am un-American, let me explain.

Thanksgiving is truly one of my least favorite times of the year. I am reminded of this every fall when all of the turkey decorations arrive. I don't want to be a downer, but seriously, this holiday has come to represent some not so desirable attributes of the American society. Several of you have heard me talk about this before, but this is my blog and I will talk about it some more.
Every Thanksgiving thousands upon thousands of people get together. They cook tons of food, so much food that most have an assortment to chose from, "Which of the three salads made today shall I eat? I'll just have some of all." They eat more than is normal, more than is healthy. They actually gorge themselves to the point of discomfort "why did I eat that much? It was just so good I couldn't stop." Then they lay around tired from the meal, waiting, waiting until the evening so they can eat again "left overs and turkey sandwiches". That is what the day is, that is what it is all about...Eating...Unhealthy, gorging, over eating. How does this represent America?

We have so much. We have more than enough and we don't even realize it. We want more and when we get it, it just feeds the desire to for more things. We want more toys, more things, we run out of space and need bigger houses to contain our possessions. When we get our houses they are so big that we must get more things to fill them. We have an over abundance and how do we choice to celebrate this? By buying, making, and devouring more food than is even healthy. It just feeds our self centered greed and lust for more.

BUT....

What if Thanksgiving didn't have to be like this? What if our way of being thankful and thanking God for all that he has provided and all we have as Americans was by giving to others. What if we helped others? Fed them? Took care of the needs of others who don't have an abundance of crap or any food at all? How about taking it a step farther. What if we gave up something on Thanksgiving and gave it to someone who needed it. A sacrificial thank you, one that actually meant something because it had a cost? Maybe we should go without a meal and give our food to those who are hungry. Can you imagine giving your feast to someone who was starving! Now
that is something I could enjoy doing on a day designed to be thankful for God's provision.

Sometimes I wonder if we could start to change the ideals of our country just by changing how we ourselves chose to live. I want to chose to be thankful in a way that will change the lives of others and give to them what I have and I want to teach that to my children. That would be cool.

15 comments:

arwen said...

i like it when you get all ranty... about something other than tv ;)

I like thanksgiving because I like turkey and that is really the only time my mom cooks a turkey. But we don't make all the food most people make because my mom is... well... she's cheap. but i like turkey. last year, my dad wanted to make enchiladas for thanksgiving and i got mad at him because all thanksgiving has is turkey. what is the point of celebrating an american specific holiday mexican style? sometimes i don't think he quite thiks things thru.

I need pictures of your welfare son...

dodyb said...

Interesting post Jess. And very true. I find it interesting though that this post follows the "If I could have just one person"

Jess said...

I don't want someone to cook for me because I want to eat all the time or because I am lazy, but because it is my least favorite job and it comsumes so much of my life because of the way I have to eat. I say it is ok to hire someone who's passion and talent is to cook for others, especially if it is not what I am called to do...If my calling is something different, it just frees me up to spend my time in more appropriate ways. As long as I am spending time doing what I am suppose to I think that it would work out well, two people enjoying what jobs they have. Now if only I had the money to make this come true...hmmmm.

tara said...

im with you on this, jess! but remmeber the year we got to make the turkey for the whole family and sherks?! we were so grown up, we even used the reynolds turkey bag thingy...that was fun, living together...
i dont really give a rip about the actual meal on thaxgvg either (do you like that long abr. for thanksgiving?) i just like to decorate for fall and the fall weather, it makes me so happy to have it cool and crisp and bright outside! mmm, apple cider....didnt we make caramel apples once? i think that was fun too...

Jess said...

Mmm...caramel apple cider, bemember those?

arwen said...

we made full size "samples" of caramel apple cider at work last night. That's a CAC to those of us in the industry...

rebecca marie said...

interesting... it was so interesting to read how you feel about it, mostly because i love it for almost the exact opposite reason! i love different perspectives. if anyone were to ask me what my favorite holiday is, my answer is always "thanksgiving, because it's the only holiday that is just about being together, and being thankful for what we have. at christmas/birthdays, it's about getting. at halloween, valentines day and easter it's about candy. thanksgiving is just about being grateful for our blessings."

i completely understand your view of it, but mine has always been opposite. it makes me look differently about how some people may view it as greedy and excessive.

tara said...

intersting view points people, lets keep em coming...

jeb & pris said...

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday too for the same reason as above - it is just about being together. I knew it was one time every year that we would spend with all of my Dad's family! I do see your point though of overeating and how it could be seen as a self-centered way to celebrate "being thankful". -pris

Rizzle said...

I like that people totally dig Thanksgiving. I mean, family is awesome and great and all that. In my opinion any excuse for family to come together is worthwhile (well, I guess there are some situations where that doesn't apply...funerals, etc). But concerning thanksgiving, doesn't something seem wrong when we say it's about being thankful and then to celebrate that we buy and eat as much food as possible?
Lets carry out that thinking a little bit...1)are we grateful for what we've been given or are we simply celebrating stuff itself? 2)"Dear God, I'm so very thankful for what I have. And so now to show my thankfulness I'm going to eat everything I see." It just doesn't fit. Doesn't something seem ethically and morally wrong to sing "god is so good. God is so good. God is so good, he's so good to me" all while stuffing your face with more than some families eat over a months time?
Jess and I are not against Thanksgiving, but what if we actually celebrated it in a way that truly showed our thankfulness rather than our gluttony?????

arwen said...

Thanksgiving is a massive tool.

marmme said...

moderation is a good rule for everything- but wait - is that sentence an oxymoron (sp?)
Moderation is a good rule for alot of areas of life. that is better.

Remember the huge Christmas tree you guys got when you lived with T & E? That was fun.

I think i'm going to go make some hot cider. mmmm

Gina said...

I can see where you guys are coming from, but I don't think that every American, even the ones who can afford to go overboard, celebrates with so much focus on "stuff" and excess. We look at it as a time to enjoy the blessings of family, and our spiritual blessings--our material blessings have never been the focus. Our family does a pretty good job of using our leftovers for other meals, so we're not wasting anything--except mashed potatoes (they just don't reheat well, and at 2 cents a serving we don't feel too wasteful). Also, we're not crazy about that "too full" feeling, so we don't gorge ourselves to the point of ridiculousness. I'm sure there are plenty of people who do, but not everyone. Maybe that's how the holiday is portrayed on TV or in the movies, but it's not necessarily representative of the entire country.

Since I was in college, most years my family or I have donated part or all of a holiday meal to people/families in need. Sometimes it was by inviting students who couldn't travel home for the holiday to join us, sometimes we donated through food banks, more recently, I've worked with my firm's charitable foundation to arrange for entire meals to be donated by our staff and delivered to needy families--as well as presents and meals at Christmas. I think all of those options, as well as volunteering at soup kitchens, are good ways to share our blessings with others. And it adds a new dimension to the celebration: celebrating the blessing of being able to share with and help your neighbors.

Jess said...

Thanks for all the comments. I do understand that T day is goodfor family time and all of that, I just want to challenge myself and my family to really think about what being thankful means and what it looks like to best express that. Ryan and I are int he works to set up some new T-day traditions for our family. I'll let you know when we figure some stuff out, maybe you all can join in the fun.

Sean Carter said...

Those are some serious thought provoking words my friend. If what you said could be followed then truly we can solve so many problems. And indeed we all have so many things to be thankful for. Well you can check out this
Thanksgiving Blog to find more interesting ways to spend Thanksgiving. Lets all pray that by our own little contribution, we can manke a difference.