Every year, as Thanksgiving rolls around, I begin to wonder anew: Is this the last time we'll celebrate Thanksgiving? Is this the year it finally dies?
My views on the future of Thanksgiving are well-known, of course, and are always becoming weller-known as people who are obviously readers of my blog reconvey my thoughts (without giving me any credit) and the latest of those People Who Obviously Read My Blog is Robin Meade, who hosts her news show on CNNHLNAFLCIOROFLMAO every morning.
The other day, Robin proved to people who love to watch news shows identified only by letters that she reads The Best Of Everything when, following a story by that one economic reporter who always looks a little angry, Robin said "Pretty soon we won't celebrate Thanksgiving at all anymore."
Which is what I've been saying all along. So while I'm glad to see that everyone continues to agree with me, thereby proving how right I always am, I'm also a little sad that when I'm eventually proven right on this one, we'll no longer celebrate Thanksgiving and I'll have to find a different holiday to serve as my excuse to make 12 pounds of homemade Chex mix.
And, the fact that Thanksgiving is as doomed as a person who relies on Arizona's government-run medical program makes me sad, too, each year when I do the Thanksgiving Whodathunkit?!, which has become sort of a deathwatch that itself is not unlike Arizona's government-run medical program.
But let's put aside those grim thoughts! Now is not the time for sadness, after all. Now is the time for celebration! For family togetherness! For the comforts of home and hearth and good food! For...um... football, I guess, featuring... um... the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, fortunately not playing each other this year (although, it might be interesting to see who would be worse in that game), and for... getting ready for holiday sales that, technically, started two-and-a-half months ago.
In short, now is the time for you to get your annual dose of the Thanksgiving Whodathunkit?!: The Three Best Things You Want To Know About Thanksgiving THIS Year. Here's a dose of stuff to talk about or do at the family gathering this year, filling the silence that falls on the group as you all collectively realize why you don't visit each other more than once a year:
1. You can take part in some trademarked "Thankssharing(TM)," thanks to "The Thanksgiving Game."
Why not, this year, combine two dying American traditions: Thanksgiving and board games? Thanks to the wonder of a company known as The Thanksgiving GameTM (seriously) you can play The Thanksgiving Game, in which, according to this actual quote from the game's Amazon page,
Players experience ThanksGiving, ThanksGuessing, and ThanksSharingTMNote that apparently only ThanksSharingTM is trademarked, so you are free (apparently) to use ThanksGiving and ThanksGuessing in everyday conversation without fear of a lawsuit from anyone except J.K. Rowling, who by royal grant has the power to sue anyone anywhere for anything.
The actual game play was a little mysterious to me. While I was pretty sure it involved a good amount of ThanksPlaying (TM me, so take that, game-makers), I wasn't clear on what actually had to be done in this no doubt superpopular game. The Product Description didn't help much:
Liven up your Thanksgiving celebration - your family will love it. For players ages 7 to adult. 3 or more players. Message from the Game Creator: For many years, the Thanksgiving GameTM has been played by our family each year on Thanksgiving Day. Traditionally it is played around the table, between dinner and dessert. The game gives everyone an opportunity to express their gratitude to God and to each other. When friends and family gather to show their love and appreciation, everyone is a winner! However, we suggest that a prize be offered to the official winner, such as candy, a plant, or a new Christmas decoration. If you don't have a prize, you can offer something else, like the largest piece of pumpkin pie! Or add your own family tradition. The Thanksgiving GameTM is great for ANY time of the year, and we hope that it will bring you years of enjoyment and meaningful memories with family and friends!
So I've got to bring my own prize, on top of being with friends and family? And it's going to delay dessert? Not a good sell, ThanksPeople (TM). And I'm still not sure how it's played. But if you do play it, make sure at some point to say "Pretty sneaky, sis!" in admiration. Even if you don't have a sister.
You know what this made me wonder? Why isn't there a Thanksgivingopoly, in which players buy sets of meals and put plates on them instead of houses? You could have, instead of Boardwalk and Park Place, Turkey and Mashed Potatoes, and the cheap properties (Baltic and Mediterranean) could be "Green Bean Casserole" and "That mincemeat pie Aunt Suzanne brought."
It would be a perfect companion, after all, to Macy's Thanksgiving Parade-opoly which is, sadly, a real thing:
2. You can push your family members out a plane, and have it have something to do with otters.
Tired of hosting Thanksgiving and thinking maybe you'll make a crummy dinner to show why you shouldn't have to do all the work? Here's a better way to get out of next year's hosting duties, and by "better" I mean both "dangerous" and "for some reason making a reference to otters:" The $15 SuperOtter Jump skydive available all Thanksgiving Weekend in Orange, Virginia. For less money than I'll spend on boxes of Chex and Worcestershire sauce, you can hurl yourself out of a perfectly good plane and hope to land safely in Orange, VA, or at least close by. The company says that
Once you give thanks with your family & friends, come on out to Orange and jump your turkey feathers off!
But why wait until after dinner? If you really want to spice up that talk at the dinner table, imagine when every single person at your party says "This year, I'm thankful that at least my relief 'chute opened." And best of all, you don't just get to see what the holiday looks like from more than two miles up in the air: You also get to take part in what's billed as a:
- 50/50 Tofurkey Drop.
3. When all else fails, wrap your turkey in a blanket and throw it into a fire! Yum!
You'd think that since people only eat turkey once a year (not counting leftovers) that simply having a turkey would be novelty enough -- but you'd think wrong, because this is The Land Of Constant Novelty, where television shots last no more than 3 seconds and a story longer than 1 paragraph is deemed epic or too long. (Which is why 90% of you stopped reading this back at the part about Robin Meade.)
That need for constant innovation doesn't just lead to Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches in a can
Maybe by next year, when we all have to stand in line all day Thanksgiving for the Door Buster Sales that'll be beginning at 6 a.m. that day, we'll have Thanksgiving Dinner In A Can!
Our need for innovation also leads to newer ways to cook a turkey/nearly kill yourself. For a couple of years there, the cooking method du jour (French for "which to light your veranda on fire") was deep-frying the turkey, but deep-frying is so yesterday that it might as well be a Paul McCartney song.
(Thanks, folks, I'll be here all week.)
The newest craze-to-come? Campfire Turkey Cooking. It's easy! And fun! And it's actually neither of those! Plus, it requires that you go camping, which might be the only way to make Thanksgiving more uncomfortable than it already is (aside from jumping out of a plane, that is.)
Campfire turkey cooking is recommended by Trails.com, which helpfully provides steps to follow to safely cook your turkey over an open flame, but which unhelpfully doesn't say what to do when the open flame ignites most of the forest, wrecking the Thanksgivings of the 35,000 firefighters who will battle that blaze for two months. (They won't get to the doorbuster sales on time!)
To give you an idea of how delicious a campfire turkey would be, consider the savory images presented by steps 3 and 4 on the site:
Put your turkey into a dutch oven if you have one big enough to accommodate it. The turkey cannot be touching the sidewalls of the oven, and if you have a big turkey, it is unlikely your oven will be large enough. If not using an oven, wrap the turkey in cheese cloth and then wrap the entire turkey in three to four layers of aluminum foil.
Rake out half the coals from the campfire and into the pit. The bottom should be completely covered in coals, so consider one to two inches of coals a minimum. Also, make sure the stuff you rake in is mostly coals and not mostly ash. If there is no rake, use your shovel or camp spade. Place your turkey on top of those coals. Then rake the remainder of the coals into the pit and throw dirt on top until the pit is covered
Thereby transforming your turkey into a mockery of The Telltale Heart -- but providing it with that good, wholesome, traditional flavor of "hot soil."
Trails.com didn't then suggest throwing the dirty, fiery turkey out a plane from 13,500 feet, but I think that's understood.
Click here to read Last Year's Thanksgiving Whodathunkit!?