The Changing Trends of Thanksgiving Day

With cooler weather and the Autumn season slowly beginning to replace the heat of summer, our thoughts seem to turn to all the up-coming holidays.
Of course, Thanksgiving Day is a very traditional American holiday; however, I’ve noticed more of a changing trend in regard to Thanksgiving Day. Perhaps it is a sign of our over-worked lives, but more and more people seem to be opting for Thanksgiving Dinner out at some of the finer restaurants.
I totally understand how much work goes into a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. I have spent 2 or 3 days in years past, doing all the traditional preparation and cooking for a single meal that is eaten in about 30 minutes. Of course, we always ate several more times from all the traditional foods before the leftover turkey met its final end as turkey casserole. Our traditional meal consisted of roast turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, a tossed salad, cranberry sauce, and a sweet potato souffle topped with coconut and pecans, and hot yeast rolls. We had the usual desserts of pumpkin pie, pecan pie, usually either a chocolate cake or a pan of brownies, and an apple pie served with ice cream. It takes a lot of work to present such a kitchen full of favorites for the whole family, but I always considered it a labor of love. Many times we would invite people from our church to join us, especially those who had no family nearby.
Once my children were grown and moved away from home, it seemed a lot of work to prepare such a huge meal for two people. Of course, sometimes the kids come home for the holiday, but most often they eat with their in-laws or go out for Thanksgiving Dinner. In fact, because some of the kids or their spouses work on Thanksgiving Day or the day after, they don’t have time to travel and they certainly don’t have time to cook.
So these days, sometimes my husband and I talk about going out for a quiet Thanksgiving dinner. The problem with that for us is that we grew up with all the traditions of the holiday. It just doesn’t seem quite right to eat out on Thanksgiving Day. We also look forward to the leftovers, and since my husband is a diabetic, I prepare special diabetic friendly foods and desserts for him. These days, we forego the high carbohydrate foods that were a part of our Thanksgiving meal. Now we opt for more steamed vegetables and fewer calories and carbohydrates in our meal. Now a Thanksgiving dinner might consist of roast turkey, steamed broccoli, buttered carrots, oven roasted green beans, a tossed salad, cole slaw prepared with sugar-free sweetener and for dessert, a cherry cheesecake prepared with ground almond and sugar substitute crust and topped with sugar-free cherry pie filling. We also enjoy sugar-free ice cream even on top of a sugar-free apple pie prepared with an almond crust.
The holidays seem to change for most of us. Whether it is due to work schedules, busy lives, or dietary restrictions, Thanksgiving dinner looks a lot different than it did in past decades.
One of the trends I especially dislike is the fact that Thanksgiving Day is now considered to be the start of the Christmas shopping season. We barely pause and tip our hats toward the “Giving of Thanks” before we rush off to find all the bargains that await our hustle and bustle lives. Giving Thanks is more than just a brief pit stop on the way to Christmas. We all need to stop and think about what things are truly important to us. We need to be thankful for the things we have, because we are a most blessed people and a most blessed nation. Thanksgiving Day is a day that has been set aside just for the purpose of being thankful. I think that is a grand idea and certainly worthy of devoting one full day of our time to pause, reflect and yes, be thankful.

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