Tag Archives: holidays

thanksgiving hopping

Thanksgiving is approaching and my entire school is buzzing with the formation of plans. Some students are going home; some are planning small, swanky soirees; others are hosting giant potlucks. Of course, with so many plans happening on one day, there are many students who are invited to many Thanksgivings. Some say ‘yes’ to the first invitation that comes their way, or to the one with their closest friends. Others agonize over where to spend the day. But there’s another category: Thanksgiving hoppers.

I imagine the habit of Thanksgiving hopping started—painfully, gruelingly—with divorce situations. For many of my friends, it’s considered a fun way to spend the holiday. Often it means getting in as many Thanksgivings as possible; other times it means planning to be with one group for lunch and another for dinner, splitting the day between friends.

I find the practice infuriating. As a hostess and a friend, yes, of course, but even more so as a spiritually conscientious person. Because Thanksgiving hopping is the opposite of giving thanks. A proper Thanksgiving means being right where you are with deep gratitude, about savoring the rich quality of food and drink and relationship, about being in a moment of eternity because there is nowhere else to be. Thanksgiving hopping is about gluttony, sacrificing quality for quantity, and watching the clock to get to wherever you promised to be next.

By attempting to be with everyone, you’re really being with no one. You’re with the pain in your gut from too many side dishes, you’re with the clock on your phone trying to gauge how long you can stay without offending the host of the next event. You don’t stay put long enough to allow the slow build of relationship and relaxation to culminate in the quiet joy of deep contentment. You’re missing out on what’s right in front of you, and worse, you’re depriving your friends of the gift that is you and your full presence.

We spend every other day of the year rushing from one place to the next. Take this one day to slow down and really be where you are. Give us this day to give thanks with you. Give us this day to give thanks for you.

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not buying it

I just got my Crate & Barrel Holiday Inspiration 2012 catalogue in the mail. Not that I wait for it, but it shows up, so I flip through it.

The first page has a big heading—Home&Holidays—followed by a letter from the president. It feels more like a magazine than a catalogue, and her words encourage the reader to believe that this publication is more than a giant advertisement. “The pages that follow are not only a guide to our new collection, but a celebration of the experiences we have shared in our homes at this special time of the year.” I don’t hate this. Actually, I don’t even entirely disagree with it. My own home is arranged in such a way that (I hope) it is inviting, warm, relaxing. It’s just stuff, sure, but the stuff as much as my husband and I’s demeanor helps our guests feel comfortable and at home.

What I do hate is the juxtaposition of sections of this catalogue. Adding to the magazine feel, the editors divided the catalogue into sections with heartwarming titles such as “Love&Light” and “Friends&Giving”. The first of these is “Grandpa&Grandson.” Two men are shown lounging on leather furniture on either side of a fireplace, with close-ups on scotch glasses and whisky decanters. There are no pressures on these men: they appear relaxed, both with mid-conversation smiles.

The next section is “Mom&Daughter”. No leather, booze, or relaxation here. The one shot of the woman and girl show them focused on cookie decorating. Many of the shots have snippets of busy hands, blurred in activity as the photographer’s lens attempts to capture their work. The section is pages of baking items—mixers, ramekins, rolling pins—and finishes its last page with dishtowels, no doubt to carefully dry all the scotch glasses used in the next room.

Which raises the question: What are we really being sold?

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