by Ray Bendici
Nov 21, 2012
07:11 AMUnsteady Habits
If you're like me—and you darn well should be—you're probably already sick to death hearing all about Black Friday, the "official" kickoff to the season of crass commercialism and retail excess that masquerades around ... well, I think it was some sort of notable holiday at some point.
As Charley Monagan and others have noted, the ever-growing shopping frenzy set to kick off on Friday threatens to envelop Thanksgiving itself, which will be a sad, sad occurence if—really *when*—it happens.
Of course, I'm not foolish enough to think I can help hold off the zombie hordes of bargain seekers that will be shuffling into stores in about 36 hours or so, but what I can do is still cling to everything that's still good and enjoyable about my favorite holiday before it's all swept away.
As I sit here typing, it is the day before Thanksgiving, a day that has traditionally hasn't been a special one on the calendar, although it is often erroneously described as the "busiest travel day of the year." Although there will be many people on the road, it's actually not even in the top 5 or 10, according to AAA—various days in the summer are worse. (Of course, this doesn't actually ruin Planes, Trains and Automobiles in any way.)
When you consider it, in addition to the anticipation of the best holiday on the year (food, family, football, friends and no gifts—what's better than that?), there's a lot of special things about the Wednesday before Thanksgiving:
- Normally, the house is full of great smells while many prepare for the feast, baking cakes, pies and other dishes. When I was a kid, we'd always go to my grandmother's house for the holiday, and although she was one of the best cooks I've ever had the privilege to know, she would always start cooking the turkey on Wednesday. She said she needed her oven free to cook other dishes on Thursday, and didn't want to tie it up for hours on the bird, which she would try to put back in the oven on Thanksgiving to "finish it." As you might imagine, this occasionally did not work out well, although we never got botulism. One of my proudest moments was the first time she came to my house for Thanksgiving and she raved about my turkey and wanted to know the secret. (Just actually cooking it in one shot, Granny!)
- It's not officially a holiday, but it feels like something special. People are relaxed and generally in good moods, work is usually light and there's a holiday spirit all around as altruistic souls go about gathering food for those less fortunate on the holiday.
- Along those lines, it's usually a half-day for most students, and usually an occasion for early dismissal from work, you know, if you work hard for kind, generous, good-hearted people (like I might). [*HINT HINT*]
- All our clothes still fit comfortably at this point. After Thanksgiving and the subsequent meals of leftovers and extra helpings of desserts, this won't be the case by Sunday night.
- On Wednesday, we're usually still happy to see family who have come from afar—no one has gotten on anyone's nerve's yet, and most of the family drama won't come to a head until the holiday cheer starts flowing into wine glasses on Thursday. House guests haven't outstayed their welcome yet, either.
- Wednesday night is also a time where many friends who haven't seen each other in a while get togehter. For my wife and her besties who grew up in Ansonia, it's often referred to as "Happy Valley New Year," a night of celebration in the local bars and restaurants met with a fair level of revelry. Usually** my wife will roll the car onto the front lawn at about 2 a.m., jump out of it, hop on the roof and boisteriously shout "HAPPY VALLEY NEW YEAR!!!" to the entire neighborhood. (**By "usually" I mean I may have completely made this up—we'll see how it goes tonight.)
Anyway, I think we need to have an official nickname for the day to recognize the optimism, happiness and good will of the day. I suggest White Wednesday as it sounds like the antithesis of Black Friday, but I'm certainly open to other suggestions. Kickoff Wednesday? Friendsday? You Don't Have to Make Amends Day? Or do we just go with the simple Thanksgiving Eve?
Well, whatever you call the day, please enjoy it!