Ah yes. It's that time of year again. The Holiday Season.
Piffle and Balderdash and Rubbish!
If you can't tell from the above, this isn't exactly my favorite time of the year. In fact, with the exception of Hallmark's favorite - Valentine's Day - I can't think of any holidays that I loath quite so much as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Now don't get me wrong. As a small child, I loved Christmas. The lights, the brightly wrapped presents, the tree, and all the decorations and trimmings - they were Important to me in a way that such superficial nonsense can only be Important to the very young, or the very ignorant.
Something to keep in mind though, is that when I was a small child, stores didn't start putting up Christmas decorations, or playing incessant Christmas music, until December 1st or later. The family didn't even start pulling down the Christmas tree and decorations until at least a couple of days after Thanksgiving.
It certainly wasn't already on prominent display in the stores before Halloween was even finished, and the left over candy had gone on sale. There were Turkeys everywhere for the entire month of November, to remind us that Thanksgiving was at the end of the month - but you didn't see a fat guy in a poorly tailored red suit, with ZZTop-esqe beard until after December had officially begun.
Now as an adult, I've had to admit that even as a child, I dreaded Thanksgiving. My grandmother, The Bat, always made that particular holiday more of a trial by fire than a relaxing family get-together. I've ranted about it at length in prior posts.
Thankfully, The Bat is not a concern this year, as she has rather conveniently absented herself from my life again since mid-March. The peace of not having to deal with her has been truly blessed.
I can't say that I enjoy the holiday to any greater extent though. Mostly because I've spent a lot of time over the past couple of years studying holiday origins for some of the more uniquely American holidays that I grew up celebrating as a matter of course.
Thanksgiving has its roots in the late 16th and early 17 century, while the upper North Eastern US was still budding colonies of northern European origin. The colonials were almost exclusively Christians of some stripe (there weren't as many stripes to that particular zebra back then - only Catholic and Protestant, not 17 gazilllion protestant offshoots of various names.)
I haven't been big on most of the Abrahamic holidays - or the various enforced, Commercialized, Abrahamic Christian versions fed up to Americans - for a long time. Frankly, I'm a huge proponent of the concept that Freedom Of Religion - also means (or at least implies) Freedom FROM Religion.
Thanksgiving is an inherently American Christian holiday. While I'm very much an American by birth and blood, I'm not a Christian and haven't been since I was old enough and educated enough to actually make a conscious Choice rather than simply going with what I'd been told I should believe, growing up. This being such an inherently Christian holiday, what incentive do I have to even Acknowledge it, much less Celebrate it?
Oh wait - I Don't.
I did my harvest celebrating at Samhain (that's Halloween for all you conventional Christian types) and Yule won't happen until the Winter Solstice - and bears little resemblance to Christmas. As far as I'm concerned, Thanksgiving is simply another of those stupid days when I can't get anything done outside the house, because the rest of you lot wanted an excuse to take a couple extra days off.