By Jaycie Cash
Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season. For many it’s a time for cherishing tradition, family, favorite dishes, football and . . . during the last few years, shopping.
Every year it seems a larger number of stores choose to open on Thanksgiving Day in the hope of luring shoppers looking for some money-saving deals through their doors. I find that policy depressing.
When I was a kid, this was such a special time. We’d put out turkey and pilgrim decorations right after Halloween and work as a family unit to prepare annual specialties for the big feast day.
My mom was known for making a cranberry salad that we’d spend days putting together. Since we ate with a large group we’d have to fix a lot of salad, so on the Monday evening before Thanksgiving we’d sort through around four bags of fresh cranberries, carefully throwing out those that looked old or spoiled and breaking off and discarding stems.
Once we had only the best cranberries selected and rinsed we’d hand grind them in an early form of food processor (no, I didn’t live in the 1800s, I promise) and cover the now ground berries with several cups of sugar before popping them in the fridge. We’d add more sugar and stir every day leading up to Thanksgiving.
Tuesday evening we’d crack the pecans from the tree we had in our yard and chop them into pieces. Wednesday evening we’d slice up red seedless grapes. Then on Thursday morning, while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, we’d fold the cranberries, pecans and grapes all together with freshly made whipped cream.
Everyone raved about how delicious it was but I think it tasted best to my mother, brother and me because we’d worked together to create it and had been anticipating since Monday evening how wonderful the finished salad would taste.
I continue that tradition today, with a few changes. There’s no pecan tree in my current yard, so I now buy pecans shelled and already in pieces. Also, I use an actual food processor and don’t have to hand crank anything.
When I was growing up no one put up their Christmas decorations until the day after Thanksgiving, so we had the chance to actually savor and enjoy each holiday in its own right.
This year some local stores put Christmas decorations up before Halloween. And I haven’t seen any Thanksgiving decorations anywhere.
It feels like we’re all being pushed through Fall so we can officially start the time for “buying” as soon as possible. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Christmas as much as the next person and I’m certainly an unabashed capitalist.
But I’m also sad that so many young people today are growing up without the chance to enjoy family traditions of their own or to fully experience a delightful holiday that excludes no individual or group due to spiritual beliefs or a lack thereof.
Instead, many of their parents must rush off to work or are out cruising stores and looking for bargains.
HOW ABOUT YOU, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THANKSGIVING MEMORIES? DO YOU ENJOY SHOPPING FOR BARGAINS THANKSGIVING DAY OR DO YOU SPEND THE TIME TRADITIONALLY WITH FAMILY? WHEN IT COMES TO STORES CONDUCTING BUSINESS ON THANKSGIVING, DO YOU VOTE FOR OPEN OR CLOSED? A FREE COPY OF MY DEBUT NOVEL, MRS. GOODFELLER WILL BE RANDOMLY AWARDED TO ONE PERSON WHO LEAVES A COMMENT BELOW BEFORE THE NEXT WRITERSPACE BLOG IS POSTED.