Thursday, November 19, 2009

Taking Back Turkey

Whatever marketing pseudo genius that decided to start springing Christmas on us on Halloween should be shackled and pummeled by rotten pumpkins at dawn.

I love Christmas, don't get me wrong, but in a timely fashion. I don't need to be reminded far too early that I am struggling to catch up with bills and I have to start NOW, RIGHT NOW, shopping to get the deal of the century in order to make my child love me forever and ever and save the day by getting the ungettable get of the Holiday season.

I cherish the way things were once upon a time, when you would eat yourself into a candy coma after Halloween for a week. Where you would start to prepare yourself for Thanksgiving a few weeks later. Gently start to dream of that one day of over-eating (ok who are we kidding, one day...) and tryptophan side effects.

Traditions are being whittled away by mass marketing and sale papers, and having been in retail hell for 15 years I get it. The holiday's are no longer being ruled by the family dynamic, they are ruled by the dollar sign and you are all falling for it. All succumbed to the trickery of the Big Boxes and Retail Giants. Their subtle nuances who's snappy or annoying jingles may plague you as you sleep, and lure your children into frenzies over what they subliminally tell them is the coolest toy on the planet.

It also makes me miss my father more. Sure he picked fights with someone (mostly me) every holiday, but we were together. We were one of those families who sat together for dinner every night. Didn't matter if it started at 8pm, we all sat down together. Holidays were no exception. Everyone huddled around the table, arguing over who got the breast and who got the skin (because though clearly unhealthy, it’s oh-so-good). We may have put the fun in dysfunctional, but holidays were our thing.

They used to be lavish. Cousins, aunts and uncles. Kids running amuck. Using my grandmother's china and waiting for my mom to gingerly take that massive turkey out of the oven, my dad ready to carve it with the grace of a professional butcher. And slowly, things changed. Cousins grew up and got married, their in-laws families became their new traditions and our table thinned out.

And then we lost the house. And then my father died. My sister heads to her boyfriend's family home out of state. And now it’s us. Just my mom, my brother, myself and my son. Four lonely souls lost in memories of what used to be tradition. No longer do we have that table full of witty family banter. No longer so we have those arguments I long for. Ok, well my brother and I still rival any sibling arguments going back in time, but other than that it’s a solemn occasion.

The oven has been replaced by a turkey fryer. My grandma's china with every day plates and Tupperware. But I want it back.

I want to tell retail to go to hell and take back tradition. I want to take that fried turkey (ok it IS delicious) and bring my family to my house. I want to set a fancy table. I want egg-nog and cider. I want to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on TV, and football and Miracle on 34th Street. I want stories for Dylan to tell when he gets older. I want memories to be made for my son. I don't just want another blip on the calendar. A kickoff to shopping or a countdown to Christmas.

That's right folks, I'm taking back Turkey. Who's coming with me?

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