October 11, 2013 by Vicki
In my family, the holiday Thanksgiving is not about Thanksgiving. The Thanksgiving celebration is actually our “oh shit, it is almost Christmas! What the hell are we going to do?” celebration. We never seem to get around to celebrating the things we have to be thankful for (except, perhaps, that Christmas only happens once a year.)Every year, Thanksgiving Day is the beginning of the Christmas carnival. They used to use clowns to distract the audience whenever something broke down or a disaster occured. Clowns ensured the illusion of amusement and entertainment continued no matter what heartbreak actually transpired behind the Act. To foster the illusion of joy, love and Charity, I cannot help but feel that clowns may be required.
Christmas is the most important holiday of the year in my family. We all look forward to Christmas every year. Some of the most important family memories I have occured during the Christmas season. It is the one day during the year when we all gather together and celebrate our family and our shared history. Christmas, however, because of its importance, also requires the most stress and, angst-ridden preparation throughout the majority of the year. Members of my family (who will remain nameless) actually started discussing preparation for Christmas in JULY!!! I out-and-out refused to be involved in the discussion. Five months of stress and angst over one day pushed even my ability to cope. Now, however, it is a few days before Thanksgiving which is the official beginning of the Christmas prep-phase. We may need the clowns.
The honour of hosting the event is one jealously sought after despite the inherent work-load. To host Thanksgiving Dinner is a mark in my family of having achieved maturity and a true membership in the adult family. It also grants a level of control over the Thanksgiving proceedings as well as planning for Christmas Day. Only one can have this honour and many shall desire it. Prepare the clowns, tensions are rising.
Of course, the first angst-ridden decision rests on who will be able to attend. As with any large group of people, trying to find a date and time when everyone can agree to be at a specific location is like herding cats through a dog door. Most of the time, the process proves impossible and we have to make adjustments such as certain members gathering on different days. Some simply refuse to attend and that leads to hurt feelings and arguments. The question truly being asked is who do you care about the most?. . . . Send in the clowns.
On Thanksgiving Day, we will discuss and decide the rules of engagement for Christmas Day. These will include how gifts will be bought, who will receive gifts from whom, when we shall gather to celebrate together, who will be responsible for what part of the Christmas dinner etc. A frequent debate in our family is whether we should have a surprise Santa (we all draw one name out of the hat and that is who we buy a present for) or if we shall place a price limit on gifts or it will just be a free-for-all. As you may imagine, each pose their own unique difficulties. The secret Santa raises the question of what about immediate family gifts? If I do not pull my fiance’s name out of the hat, does that mean I cannot buy him a Christmas present? What about any children in the family? Are they included in the secret Santa or does everyone need to buy the children a gift for Christmas? Price limits raise the question of whether they are limits per recipient or per giver? In other words, if there is a price limit of twenty dollars, can three members go together to buy a sixty dollar gift for one recipient? The free-for-all option makes those of limited means feel stressed and inadequate. All of this and more needs to be decided during Thanksgiving dinner.
So Please, send in the clowns on Thanksgiving Day; we may keep them until New Year’s. Why do we do this to ourselves? Why can we not simply gather together and celebrate another year without the stress and angst? Does your family require the sending of clowns this season? Tell me your stories in the comments below.