In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, my heart soared every time I ran to the grocery shop and saw folks lined up with their cranberries and potatoes. Hanging out in the kitchen, cooking with family and friends, is pure bliss in my book (to say nothing of the pumpkin pies that we would enjoy later). Who doesn’t love a holiday that celebrates cooking and togetherness?
Except that this year my elderly parents decided to eschew the crowded airports, dine with cousins on Cape Cod and visit the grand kids in December, instead. Score one for outsmarting the system, but every time my Blackberry chimed with another desperate Cyber Monday deal, I bemoaned how Thanksgiving has turned into such a desperate dash for airports and shopping malls. Something gotten a little lost when the stories from the weekend are about Best Buy employees trudging to work after their holiday dinners, tweeners getting together to hit the Brandy Melville sale in the middle of the night, and a pepper-spraying mom who eliminated the competition for an X-Box 360. Whatever happened to eating too much and heading to a movie?
I’ve got my memories of sitting at the ‘kids’ table’, chilly walks after the feast and lying around the living room watching The Sound of Music. But if our job is to create rose-colored memories for the next generation, we’re going to have to pull Thanksgiving out of its mercantile vortex and reclaim it for those of us who’d rather consume sweet potatoes and cranberry tarts. Whether it’s teaching the kids a family recipe that you only ever make once a year, letting them loose on the table decorations or heading out to see a movie all together on the big screen, showing them that you can stave off the credit-card frenzy is something they’ll thank you for later.