Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Thankgiving Comes First!


I don’t celebrate them.

I understand the concept of such special days. Whether it is to commemorate the date due to its significance in history, a special person in one’s life, or the festive gathering of people to celebrate family values, I have no emotional attachment to any holiday - not even birthdays. The last time I celebrated my birthday was in 1987. I was twelve.

My family life when growing up was . . . not exactly on the normal side. No, this doesn’t explain my quirky nature now. It took me YEARS to be this annoying. Let me just say that when it comes to family values, finding such in the Hickman household was lacking. There was a particular phrase spoken often by the adults:

“This isn’t The Wonder Years.”

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the sitcom, The Wonder Years was an American Dramedy (comedy/drama) that ran for six seasons in the late 1980s to the early 1990s. It featured Fred Savage as the typical junior high school kid getting into trouble and exploring conflicted relationships with the female students while engaged in family drama. Or so I summarized from the wikipedia page.

Honestly, I knew of the show but never watched it while young. My parents, or rather my father, watched it on occasion since it featured a character whose background involved being in the US Marine Corps (as my father had been).

Anyway, to move along with this post, the above phrase “This isn’t The Wonder Years” simply meant that family core values of love, togetherness, and understanding had no basis in real life. In the Hickman household, the adults taught the children that such notions were the fictional creations of a Hollywood scriptwriter’s overabundant use of an illegal recreational narcotic.

Yeah . . .

So celebrating holidays that adopt the philosophy of family values became frowned upon. Inside the adults’ minds, the only thing holidays seemed good for was wasting money. This became the final savage blow since the Almighty Dollar had a vaulted place in the echelons of holy worship in the Hickman household and should never be squandered on the goofy ideals from a doped-up Hollywood writer.

Thus, the death of holiday celebrations.

Okay. Before I get a slew of comments, let me state that I have never believed in this nonsense. I’ve come to have a happier and healthier mindset by going out of my way in doing the exact opposite of the taught concepts practiced on me. If I had actually listened to the adults . . .

. . . shudder . . .

Well, I’ll just say things would be VERY different with my posts at this blog. The lack of humor would send most of my readers screaming in absolute terror and disgust.

Moving right along . . .

The point of this post is to tell you that although I have no personal emotional attachment to holidays due to my messed-up childhood, I understand other people’s feelings and beliefs about them. I celebrate people’s desires to celebrate these festive events. Also, when someone is asking for help from his blog readers to support a special cause in celebrating not only holidays, but the core values involving love, togetherness, and understanding, I show my full support.

Jim (Suldog) has started his movement once again in keeping holidays within their allotted time frames. It irks him, and seems absolutely silly to me, whenever stores shove a holiday down people’s throats and into their wallets MONTHS before we actually celebrate it all because of corporate greed from avaricious merchants.

Money overriding family values? Hm, this seems familiar . . . like I mentioned it before in this post . . . concerning the warped values taught to me when young . . . and it causes me to do the exact opposite . . .

Christmas has come early, like NOW. When you can walk into a store and already see the cutout Santas at the display shelves, this cheapens the religious aspects of the occasion and completely steamrolls over another holiday that has a sole purpose in bringing families together in celebrations of love and thankfulness.

Thus the movement of “Thanksgiving Comes First” is being spread throughout the blogosphere. Here is an excerpt from Jim’s post.
When I was a kid, Christmas was magical. The lights were colorful and amazing, making the night a warm, bright, wonderful place to be, even if it was 20 degrees outside and the snow was up to your waist in drifts. If you're old enough, you'll recall that Christmas carols gave you the same sorts of butterflies in your stomach that would be associated with love at a later time in your life. Cities and towns put up decorations on the main streets, with the larger municipalities erecting lovely Christmas trees in central spots.

All of the above worked, on a spectacular level, because it happened at an appropriate time. No retailer (or city or homeowner) dared breach the unofficial line of demarcation – Thanksgiving. It was an unwritten rule that one holiday would play out completely before another was allowed to be spoken of.

Now? Nobody cares. Whatever you can peddle, whenever you can peddle it, is the mantra. It matters not a whit how many people’s memories are trampled, nor how irreligious your displays and advertisements. The only thing that counts is that you get into the black. Restraint and taste are passé. The more outrageous the spectacle you make, the better for your bottom line.

Make no mistake about it: I’m a capitalist. I believe in a system wherein the market regulates itself. I’m all for everybody making as much money as they can, as fast as they can, in whatever way they can, so long as nobody is physically hurt in the process. I’m not looking to enact laws against early Christmas advertising, nor am I in favor of jail terms for such nebulous concepts as greed. What I am in favor of is standing up and being counted. If you decry this incursion upon our holiday ground, I hope you'll join me in raising a slight ruckus. My hope is that we'll make enough noise to affect the situation. If we can’t, then I suppose we deserve this despicable state of affairs.

I’m going to give it a try. I hope you'll help.

If you believe, as I do, that Thanksgiving should play out before Christmas; that Christmas carols should not be heard on the radio before at least Thanksgiving evening; that advertisers who dare to encroach upon Thanksgiving - or, God help us, Halloween - with their hideous advertisements should be told in no uncertain terms that you will not shop at their establishments; that malls who put Santa Claus on display before Veterans Day should be made ashamed of themselves; then please consider doing what I'm going to ask of you.

Should you be as incensed as I am concerning Christmas schlock, please post a "Thanksgiving Comes First" entry on your blog. Write from the heart. Everybody who visits your blog will know how you feel. Perhaps they'll also write about it, and so will their friends, and so on. I hope that, if enough of us do this, we might make some small impact.

Here are his personal reasons for this:

I'm a Christian, so I have more than an annoyance factor at work here. I think that cheapening the holiday, by expanding it beyond reasonable bounds, does a world of disservice to my religion. It gives people a false view of it, by making it a greed-fest. However, if you aren’t a Christian, your take on matters may be even more so than mine. If you're Jewish, for instance, it might make you mad to see some of your own festive holy days being given short shrift because of this overkill. If you're an atheist? I imagine it doesn't make you happy to be bombarded by this stuff. Whatever your reasons, please consider telling the world that you've had enough.

I firmly believe – and I’m sure you do, too – that the great majority of people are sick to death of the way Christmas has been commercialized. I’d be willing to bet that whenever you talk to anyone about this stuff, they almost always say, "Yeah, me, too!"

You may already know that I consider Fred Rogers to have been an actual living saint. He really was a nice man as I detailed in a previous post. Anyway, on one of his shows that aired recently, he was explaining the concepts of noisy and quiet. In order to illustrate the difference, he took his television audience to see a musician friend of his.

Fred had the musician, a percussionist, play his many instruments. Some were very loud, while others were soft and gentle. Afterwards, Mister Rogers looked into the camera and spoke. I have to paraphrase, but it will be close enough. He said, “In music, the silences are just as important as the loud parts.”

That’s a very profound statement. The silences are just as important as the loud parts. It’s true, isn’t it? Without the silences, it’s just noise. The silences – the pauses, the gaps, the unfilled spaces – are what give the notes their power and meaning. And when it comes to a holiday, the silences – the quiet times preceding (or even within) the holiday – are extremely important. They give the celebration its power and meaning. That’s why I care so deeply about this. We all need some silences. They’re just as important as the loud parts.
You can read Suldog’s entire post to get a deeper understanding. Come join the cause!

I’m there, in heart and spirit.


  1. Nice post Michelle. I completely agree that the greed surrounding holidays has risen to idiotic levels. I just try to close my eyes and ignore it, because while I admire Suldog's efforts, I don't believe that us little people will change the machine that is corporate America. Nice idea though.

  2. Thank you, My Darker Gray Friend!

    Eric - It will never change if we don't try! If we try, there's at least a possibility, no? In any case, if we try, then we give ourselves the right to rant endlessly later on, and that's always fun :-)

  3. Eric: Corporate America lives and dies by the consumer buying their products. The little people grease their wheels. Sometimes, when the little people bcome disgruntled, we can throw a wrench in to clog things up. Believe me; the machine pays attention to the little people.

    Suldog: You are so very welcome, My Lighter Gray Friend!

  4. Many intelligent arguments against holidays.;) But, I grew up with so many traditions, letting go would be almost impossible.;)

  5. Protege: No.. no, this post isn't bashing holidays or traditions. It's about not letting businesses and corporations to cheapen the true meaning of them by overinflating holidays outside their seasonal range just to make a quick buck. :-)

  6. We talked about this very subject at the office last week. It is ridiculous that holidays, Christmas in particular, comes earlier every year. Right now, at Target, you have 4 or 5 aisles of Halloween stuff and in the next aisle over, you have 3 or 4 aisles of Christmas stuff.
    Come Thanksgiving, there will be 9 to 10 aisles of Christmas stuff with New Years stuff in the next aisle.

    It's bad enough that our failing eco systems have made summers longer, springs shorter and so forth. Now all this commercial bullsh** is screwing up my seasons too.

    Great post!

  7. Theresa: Too Right! I feel the same way about the seasons! And now this commercialization is going too far! Grrr...

  8. Kat: Yeah is right! Saw your post today. Awesome!

  9. Your absolutely right; early advertising ruins the holiday. Who wants to see Santa when you're shopping for turkey? (Or Haloween candy for that matter.) I join the rebellion! :)

  10. DeepBlu: Please do join! Everyone is welcome to vent!


People want to comment here?'s your two-cents, Bub. Spend it wisely!


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