by | Nov 20, 2005 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

I’ll take Thanksgiving.

You can have Halloween, New Year’s, Christmas, Fourth of July, Easter, Hanukkah and any day dedicated to presidents.

You can stack them all up on one side, and the turkey and I will stand on the other.

I’ll take Thanksgiving.

It is, to me, exactly what a holiday should be.

For one thing, there are no gifts. You never have to worry about what to get someone for Thanksgiving or how much to spend. There are no lectures about “greed” or “commercialization” or how we’re “forgetting the spirit” of Thanksgiving. No way. The spirit of Thanksgiving is eating.

Who could forget that?

Second, it comes with football. What other holiday does that? New Year’s Day? At least with Thanksgiving, you don’t have a hangover.

Also, there is no “right” place to go on Thanksgiving – except home. There is no church or synagogue. No graves that must be visited. No trekking out to watch fireworks.

You just sit on the couch, or sit at the table, and you laugh and eat and laugh and burp and – ta-da! – you are credited with knowing the “true meaning” of the holiday.

Also, it comes with a parade.

No history lesson needed

Did I mention the dressing? Not the turkey dressing. The human dressing. There isn’t any! Oh, sure, maybe you put on a nice pair of pants. Maybe. But who really dresses up for Thanksgiving? You can celebrate in a sweatshirt. Can you say that about New Year’s Eve? Not unless you’re a lonely, pathetic loser.

And Thanksgiving doesn’t require some smarty-pants history known only by your geeky cousin from Baltimore. Uh-uh. There’s no quoting Lincoln or Washington. No reading from the Declaration of Independence.

What do you need to know about Thanksgiving? The Pilgrims and the Indians had dinner. Pass the gravy.

Thanksgiving never moves. It is always on a Thursday, strategically placed so that you might as well take off Friday as well, since Saturday and Sunday are next, and, while you’re at it, maybe half of Wednesday just to pick up everyone from the airport. Thanksgiving gets you half a week off.

What does Labor Day get you? Monday?

And there is no shopping on Thanksgiving, unlike Memorial Day or Presidents’ Day. Sure, there are Thanksgiving sales, but you do them on FRIDAY! How cool is that?

Also, there are no masks. You don’t beg for candy from strangers. And nobody eggs your house.

Have I mentioned stuffing?

And plenty of time to nap

There is no more celebratory food – short of dessert – than stuffing. Be honest. When you were young, you couldn’t get enough of it, right? Maybe you hated cranberry sauce, but all kids loved stuffing. It was everything great about bread and pudding and hot, mushy food wrapped into one.

Tell me you don’t still feel that.

Tell me there’s anything better than a meal that goes all night, that doesn’t have an event tied to it, that doesn’t come with a bill at the end.

Tell me there’s anything better than only having to catch up with your aunts, uncles and cousins to feel as if you did the holiday proud. Tell me there’s anything easier than passing plates. Tell me there’s a better place to appreciate what you have than in a kitchen filled with good smells.

Tell me there’s a better invention than “the kids’ table.”

And what holiday not only condones but pretty much expects you to fall asleep on the couch?

So let’s sum up. No costumes, no presents, no services, no tuxedos, no time limit, no guilt trips, and all the food, naps and football you want.

I’ll take Thanksgiving. After all, no one tries to sit on the turkey’s lap and ask for an Xbox.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or He will sign copies of his books at 11 a.m. Friday at Borders Express in Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills.


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New book, The Little Liar, arrives November 14. Get the details »

Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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