Childhood Family Food

Thanks, Thanksgiving

Dear Thanksgiving,

I just wanted to tell you that you are not forgotten.

I know you see when the Christmas decorations start appearing in stores around August.

And I know it makes you sad. But you don’t complain, because that’s the kind of holiday you are. Stoic to the end. That’s you, Thanksgiving.

Sure, you feel a little bit better when people lament such early appearances. Sure, you get a little solace when you see people posting on Facebook that they don’t want to hear “Deck the Halls” on the store radio when Halloween decorations are still out. But never a word from you, Thanksgiving. You are strong, T’Giv.

Let me tell you something, Thanksgiving. Despite the fact the stores’ halls have been decked with holly for months, you hold your head high. You know why? Because you matter, my friend.

You may not be a holiday with a lot of marketing oomph behind it. Even if we have been buying Christmas wreaths before we’ve even set our clocks back, you’re still on our minds. You, Thanksgiving, are a humble holiday. And we dig that.

I don’t care how many inflatable Christmas Snoopy dog houses are on sale before Veterans Day, we are still not bailing on you, Thanksgiving.

This past weekend, we were all planning for your big day. Some of us have started shopping. Some of us have thought really long and hard about planning to start shopping at some point. But you rest assured, noble holiday, we are thinking about you.

On Thursday, we will gather around tables with families and friends and celebrate your big day. We will feast until we are full, and then feast a little more. We will relish the background noise of NFL football (even if it’s almost always the Lions). And we will oh so love your gracious gift of a turkey sandwich the next day. You, Thanksgiving, are the holiday that keeps on giving.

For me personally, your day is a day of some of my most wonderful family memories. When I was a kid, we would have dozens of people at our house for your big day. Our home was always the place for anyone who needed a family for the day, and we always became a great big family on your day. Thanksgiving, you brought me some of the fondest memories of my childhood. I remember football in the front yard with tons of people, including one time when one of the players was an awesome giant sheep dog someone had brought to the celebration. I remember my dad’s annual tradition of calling out, “Who wants to carve the turkey?” to which we all respond in unison, “I don’t!” (I have no idea of the origins of that, but I am pretty sure a Gibbons Thanksgiving cannot legally commence until that has been done.) I remember watching my mom deftly add card tables and folding chairs to the sprawling, growing array of tables that she started with, happily accommodating surprise (and very welcome) guests to our home. The more the merrier. (See what I did there, Thanksgiving? I took merry and used it for YOU.)

Unfortunately, Thanksgiving, I won’t be able to go to my parents’ this year to celebrate you. But I know the rooms will be full of friends and family and fellowship, and that warms my heart. But as is your tradition, you continue to make sure that people are together on your big day. A neighbor has invited us to join them on Thursday, an opportunity we embrace.

So keep being you, Thanksgiving. You may not get the retail love of other holidays. But that’s OK. That’s not your style.

Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike.


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