“Did I mention I’ve never celebrated a holiday?” My friend’s religion doesn’t allow it.

This year, she ate turkey with someone–eating turkey around a fancy table seemed odd. I told her not to panic. It’s just a dead bird, after all–think of it as a frugal thing. It’s on sale. I bought three and I don’t even eat meat.

Americans sacrifice the birds to the god of football, then we move on to buying gifts so we can get presents for someone else’s birthday. Black Friday should be called Red and Green Day, because those are Jesus’ colors. I checked his Alma Mater.

I love the smell of the Thanksgiving turkey wafting through the air. I don’t tell anyone because I’d get kicked out of the vegetarian inner circle. When I was Declan’s age we’d gather around the dead bird and eat the crispy bacon off the top while the chief matriarch would chase everyone away. Then we’d pilfer olives from the relish tray.

I always wondered why we couldn’t have more than one can of olives. Maybe we were still poor.

I can’t give my friend a good answer for why we have turkey, since the colonists had venison.  I don’t cook the turkey anymore because I refuse to cook the guts. I throw them out. Sticking my hand into a hollow carcass pulling out livers, kidneys, and hearts gives me biology class flashbacks. I got fired from the top spot in the kitchen for gut refusal. That makes for a restful day.

I could skip Turkey Day entirely unless they changed it to Tofu Day, but waking up on Christmas with no tree, no presents, no yuletide caroling, no Scrooge…no…egg nog?

My friend’s no holiday stance is entirely correct. Why should we get gifts for someone else’s birthday when we should be saying prayers of gratitude directly to God in any religion? It makes perfect sense, but as a holiday addict, I can’t give up the sights, sounds, and smells of each one.

I’d like to skip the mad rush and greed, though, and focus on the gratitude.

All religions can come together on Christmas. I’m not trying to say the Christians get to win on this one, but even my Jewish and Hindu friends have Pandora Christmas on their radio and trees in their homes. Christmas is only one day–that makes it easier schedule in than eight days of Hanukkah and no one appropriates Ramadan because it’s too darned hard–a person has to be truly holy to keep it right. I’m inspired by my Ramadan keeping friends, and want to be a better person watching them.

Maybe, though, we can just have Christmas dinner together and celebrate the gratitude and joy in our hearts, each one of us being thankful for the universe, and the gifts of love and friendship it brings. And for the better among us, some God wouldn’t hurt either.

It’s Cyber Monday. My email is full of sales, TV shows have snippets of content that fill up the space between Christmas commercials. I tip my hat to Madison 5th Avenue who invented this season. I, too, watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade–twice, each balloon bringing back memories. After the parade we’d make our Santa lists and wonder if we’d been good enough for him to come.

We’d fought. We didn’t listen the first time. We didn’t clean our room…We were nervous. He could skip us. We thought he’d bring coal, but no one gets coal these days–there’s an energy crisis. The good kids get coal.

Holidays are a time to take a break from the day-to-day. Sure, we’ve bastardized Thanksgiving, inventing a history book story for our children where Pilgrims feast with their hosts over a Butterball turkey. We hang pine, put up trees, and sing about Yule logs stolen from other cultures during Roman conquest. We invent new holidays like Cyber Monday to support the economy during American Consumer Christmas.

My friend who hasn’t celebrated a holiday is on the moral high road here. She’s going to heaven first. I hope she holds the door open for me, though, because I love the scent of pine, the burning of candles, the songs and smells of the season.

Yes, we’ve hijacked Jesus’ birthday, and show no signs of ransoming it soon. It’s so easy to do. Don’t forget to log onto any website now for a 20-50% off coupon or Amazon your season today. You’ll be saving money and doing your civic duty spurring the economy.

America thanks you. But you’ll have to give thanks to God yourself.

Have a safe and blessed Cyber Monday, but if you forget anything, don’t worry–Forgot it Friday’s coming later this week.

%d bloggers like this: