In Defense of Our Middle Child, Thanksgiving Holiday

Thanksgiving holiday

Dear, it’s time to tell Halloween and Christmas to stop stealing the limelight from our precious Thanksgiving Holiday.

Hey, honey,

Sorry for the long email while you’re at work, but I have something urgent to discuss and want to give you a heads-up. I’m calling an emergency family meeting tonight about the safety and well-being of one of our kids. It’s about our middle child: Thanksgiving Holiday.

I know this may come as a surprise since it’s usually our eldest, Halloween, getting into all sorts of trouble, but I’m really worried. I thought we planned well, spacing our kids’ birthdays each about a month apart, but now I fear they’re too close together. It’s bad enough that Thanksgiving has to follow in Halloween’s footsteps, getting hand-me-down pumpkins that have already been used to decorate for Hal’s special month. The only new thing Hal has ever given Thanksgiving is a fun nickname. I’ve seldom bought Turk the multitude of items I’ve given Hal, save for a measly cornucopia and a silly-looking turkey. And I’ve always felt bad that we devote so many of our entertainment days to Hal, what with the haunted houses, movies, pumpkin farms, trick-or-treating and costume parties. Halloween always gets an entire birthday month of celebrations in October, and Thanksgiving just gets one day. But Hal at least settles down and shows maturity when October ends and never attempts to overshadow Turk.

Thanksgiving holidayVia Getty Images

No, Halloween is not our problem child.

After much reflection, I’ve come to a sobering conclusion: the baby of the family, our dearest darling, has turned into a monster.

Yes, Christmas.

And the potential long-term effects on our beloved Thanksgiving Holiday are cause for alarm.

I must admit, we as parents are partly to blame. We’ve allowed Christmas to become out of control. We’ve helped create this “star of the pageant” who always wants to be the center of attention.

But before we start beating ourselves up over our parenting faux pas, let me just say that the reasons we allowed this sibling dynamic to become so unhealthy are completely understandable, so we should have some self-compassion. Very few parents would’ve seen this coming or been able to resist Chris’s charm.

Let’s face it. Christmas absolutely shines: the twinkling lights, the glistening snow, the decorative trees.

Thanksgiving holidayVia Getty Images

Plus, our little angel is always so sweet: the candy canes, the peanut butter cookies with kisses in the middle, the powdered beignets.

And so entertaining: Rudolph, Elf, The Nutcracker, Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Home Alone 3 (okay, so maybe not consistently entertaining).

Not to mention exciting: the shopping, the anticipation, the presents, the SANTA!

And even if you take away all the glam and glitz, Christmas is powerful and innately spiritual in a way that draws people in with warmth and joy. Firelight. “Silent Night.” Carolers. Even Chris’s birth seemed magical and divine, especially in comparison to Turk’s arduous labor following that long cruise we took. And Hal’s birth was just plain scary.

Whatever excuses we have for letting things go this far, however, must now be set aside, for Thanksgiving is suffering.

Yes, it might not seem obvious because Thanksgiving is always so unassuming, never whining, unlike that middle child next door, Hanukkah, who’s always complaining, “Well, all I ever hear is how great Matzah did this or how wonderful Matzah did that. Matzah, Matzah, Matzah!”

We both know Thanksgiving Holiday doesn’t have the natural-born sparkle and pizazz that Christmas so easily carries, but this is precisely the reason I think we should take the time to recognize the qualities Turk does possess.

Thanksgiving is calm, slow and patient, never rushing us through shopping malls in frenzied panic the way Christmas sometimes does.

Thanksgiving always gathers family and friends together.

Thanksgiving doesn’t put pressure on us like Christmas does.

Most importantly, Thanksgiving Holiday doesn’t beg us to spend thousands of dollars on frivolous junk.

Thanksgiving holidayVia Getty Images

Sure, Turk has food issues, but who doesn’t these days? What’s a little gluttony when we’re spending quality time as a family? Yes, Turk is a little chubby. And then there’s the gas. But aren’t those minuscule shortcomings in comparison to the gratitude we feel as a family when we sit down around the table on Thanksgiving’s special day?

Honestly, darling, what has Thanksgiving Holiday really asked of us over the years?

For the most part, only for our time, our gratitude and our taste buds. For a while it seemed we were able to give Turk those three simple things, but in recent years, it seems we can’t give of our time the way we once did. We don’t even give Thanksgiving one whole day of celebration without Christmas creeping in, trying to steal the spotlight.

Thanksgiving holidayVia Getty Images

First, Chris weasels into stores during Turk’s month, putting up all kinds of decorative wreaths, trees and sparkles to remind us all of the December birthday celebration, as if any one of us would forget. Then, on Thanksgiving’s special, only day, Christmas shows up all over Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

And then, after our care and preparation for a beautiful family meal, it seems like lately we all gobble down our food in five minutes so that we can take Chris on a playdate with Black Friday, who is a horrible influence, modeling all kinds of pushing and shoving. I mean, we’ve always had multiple agendas on Turk’s day, rushing through dessert so we can catch the football game on TV, but at least we were still all together, celebrating.

There was a time, just a few years ago, when we had the decency to wait until after Thanksgiving’s celebration for playdates, but now that Black Friday is allowed to stay up all hours of the night, we’ve allowed Black Friday’s parents, Media and Marketing, to call the shots.

Thanksgiving holidayVia Getty Images

My love, we need to take action, before our dear Thanksgiving shrinks away from us. We must bring balance back into our family.

Here’s what I’m proposing:

1. Put a stop to Christmas’s playdates with Black Friday on Thanksgiving’s birthday.

2. Take Chris out of Turk’s parade.

3. Do not allow Chris to put twinkling lights and trees all over the house until after Turk’s special month is over.

Let’s discuss this at our family meeting this evening. Perhaps you have further suggestions. end



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