Thanksgiving just doesn't have the same kind of importance that it it once had for me. There used to be a few days out of the year that were sacred, days that you did nothing. Well, you did things but they weren't work or school-related, so it was border-line magical. No stores were open, so you had no choice but to do nothing. You got to stay home on a Thursday and your whole purpose was eating and hanging out with your family. As a kid, that was always a very welcomed thing. As an adult, I really can't muster more than a shrug these days when people ask me about Thanksgiving. I've probably been asked the same question thirty times this year alone, "What are you doing for Thanksgiving?" My answer is always the same … ¯_(ツ)_/¯
It's one of those things where I can't quite tell if it's because I'm an adult or the nature of the holidays have just changed in general. These days, it seems like Thanksgiving gets skipped over and we go straight to Christmas. After Halloween, everyone puts away the skeleton decorations and puts up a Christmas tree. Thanksgiving has become the forgotten middle child in the end-of-year trio of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Also, it seems like establishments that were once closed, are now open. There's a sacredness that is lost. Black Friday starts earlier and earlier, which has honestly become the bigger holiday – it's the consumption holiday. It has all the appeal to me of a zombie plague, but instead of "braaaaaains", it's "saaaaaales". There really isn't much of a difference. For the past few years, I've made the decision to not buy a thing on Black Friday – as if the five dollars I'd fork over for peanut butter and chocolate ice cream at Walgreen's would make any sort of difference. But it's the little things that count.
The other thing for me, and perhaps I am not unique in this – or perhaps I am, I'm not sure – but for my family, Thanksgiving has become lost. My parents live in Columbus and my brother lives in D.C. Neither me or my brother can afford to fly home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. As for my family in New Orleans (my husband's family), of course we like to get together, but everyone's work schedule is an issue – as several of us have jobs that do not pause for the holidays, so we always end up having dinner on a day when most (but sometimes not all) can join in. So by the time Thursday rolls around, the actual day of Thanksgiving on the calendar, I'm now just like … meh.
And that's really not cool. I was never one to think of holidays as arbitrary or meaningless, but somehow they've become that way for me.
However, the cool thing is that I live in New Orleans. Living here means that it's nearly impossible to feel like you're missing out on a holiday, because every single holiday, big or small, is a reason for celebration. It's one of the reasons why I love the city so much. Life is a party. Being alive is a cause for celebration, and it's important to remember that.
So what is there to do in New Orleans on Thanksgiving, if you're not hanging out with the fam in a food coma? Plenty. There are many restaurants around town that are open and will serve you a meal worthy enough for a food holiday. Remember to always tip your server well, as they are working hard that day, on their feet and away from their families. So grab a friend, enjoy some turducken and a glass of wine.
As for me? I'll probably work, letting someone else who has family have the day off. And then I'll go home and watch "Dutch" on Netflix, my favorite Thanksgiving movie as a kid. I'll also be making buckeyes and gearing up for the upcoming weekend of football and the Midwestern holiday known as the Ohio State/Michigan game. And there is no better place to watch it in New Orleans than the Mid City Yacht Club, every New Orleanian Buckeye's favorite bar.
So happy early Thanksgiving, everyone! I promise to try and be less depressing for Christmas.