And now for something to make me really unpopular: I’m going to confess that I don’t get all the fuss about having to work on Thanksgiving.
Right now, all of my social media news feeds are flush with what I’m going to call the “No Work Thanksgiving” movement. Based on the fervent “likes,” “shares” and “retweets,” one would think working on Thanksgiving is a major societal problem of the 21st century.
The thing that really makes me laugh is the sanctimonious chatter about how working on Thanksgiving is “robbing people of family time.”
Yeah, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. And in the spirit of full disclosure I’ve worked many Thanksgivings and loved it! Like, skipping out of the house loving it. (I also loved the money because I really needed the money.)
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Before you think I’m anti-family (or anti-my family) let’s examine the holiday. It’s not even a religious occasion. I would understand this level of outrage if, indeed, it was a holy day. But it’s a federal holiday that came about in 1863, when, President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in the month of November as a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” OK, I will now concede that sounds religious, but really, how many people go to church on Thanksgiving?
And if you’re going to be angry about a holiday that’s gone full retail, where’s the Fourth of July fury? That’s a huge day in American history, but no one cares that Victoria Secret dares to cheapen the birthday of this great country of ours with a “Let Freedom Ring” three thongs and a cheekster for $13 sale.
It’s also a day that requires hours of hard culinary labor. Anyone who says they don’t believe people should have to work on Thanksgiving has never hosted the holiday at their home. Sure, the reward of toiling in the kitchen is grand and glorious. You, for doing all the pre-meal prep, cooking and cleaning, get the thank you gift of gazing upon the wonder that is your Uncle T.J. stuffing his face at the speed of light so he can resume his prone position on the couch to watch football.
As for the whole “robbing people of family time” argument, let’s be honest here. Most of us don’t have fairy-tale families where our Thanksgiving is a 24-hour extended kin group hug. For a lot of us, a whole day consumed with a cornucopia of relatives in a confined space with no chance of escape is akin to tip-toeing barefoot through the hot coals of hell. Add in second cousins who have been drinking alcohol since 10 a.m. and you have me volunteering to work every holiday. In fact, many times as I have bolted for the door to get to work my husband has begged, “Please, please, take me with you.”
The “No Work Thanksgiving” movement doesn’t just focus its ire on the merchants that chose to be open on Turkey Day. There’s also a heaping helping of disgust for folks who dare to shop on mashed potatoes with gravy Thursday. Lots of time is spent on social media dissing the idiots camped outside a Best Buy to get an “amazing deal” on a TV that’s bigger than most people’s first homes.
Here’s my take on that. If you have a family member (or members) who has chosen to stand outside a Best Buy (and quite possibly forced to relieve themselves in a 52-ounce Quik Trip cup) instead of gracing your table for Thanksgiving, you should be rejoicing, like “Hallelujah” chorus rejoicing, because you’ve been saved from spending an entire day with this level of nitwit. In fact, I would go so far as saying you need to write a thank you note to Best Buy for their awesome system of herding and corralling humans that don’t need to be free-ranging it on Thanksgiving. It’s like having a babysitter for the ickier part of your family tree.
As for the folks who hit the malls and Target on Thanksgiving evening, all I have to say is: You go, girls (and men being forced against their will to Kohl’s for their fleece sale). Two years ago, I interviewed a group of women, four sisters-in-law, who were having a blast at Target on Thanksgiving night. They didn’t really care about the shopping. For them it was all about taking a break from a surly mother-in-law and husbands who needed to up their game on the kid-watching duty.
Technically, they were family members spending time together. They just weren’t doing it at a table while passing Great Grandma Eunice’s sweet potato, cornflake and marshmallow fluff casserole.