Editor’s Column: Turkey Day: The Ditka of all holidays

By Julian Scharman

This is the holiday gift guide, so I’d like to take this opportunity give my fellow readers a gift: the gift of truth. From time to time I do tell it, and on special occasion I’ll dispense some of it.

Thanksgiving is the best holiday of them all, no questions asked.

How I arrived at the idea is irrelevant, but the points to consider are convincing. Thanksgiving is a holiday that requires so little of its participants, it’s comical. Cook whatever you can get your hands on, follow a few simple traditional guidelines and let the pheasant games begin. One need not buy gifts for those fair-weather friends you care so little about or say, your mother. She’s isn’t going to appreciate the $150 gift certificate to Yankee Candle, nor will you appreciate the four “Big Dog” and “No Fear” T-shirts a 60-year-old Target clerk coerced your mom into buying because “It’s what all the cool kids are wearing.”

So why kid yourself? Thanksgiving requires participation in a barrage of half-sober conversations on three rotating subject matters, and a belly stuffed full of wild game. During Turkey Day, no guest is bound to any religious obligation, ensuring no guests feel awkward celebrating.

Let’s consider a historical anecdote. When the pilgrims first arrived at Plymouth Rock, after their long voyage across the Atlantic, they enjoyed a harmonious get together with their Native American neighbors. They had the wherewithal to predict that sharing a celebration with a bunch of strangers was going to be more awkward than going through puberty in seventh grade. They knew it would be difficult, expensive and at best, a supreme waste of time to find a gift certificate that would suit all of their newfound friends’ tastes. So they cooked a bird and called it a day. Everyone rejoiced.

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    Furthermore, studying colonial art reveals that there were no lavish paintings of a Native American chopping an evergreen and a pilgrim right behind him on a step-up ladder adorning it with popcorn-covered yarn; nor do you see John Smith (yes, there was a John Smith at Plymouth Rock) and Samoset huddled together lighting the traditional seven candles of Hanukkah. No, they shared maize and bird. So if history is any indicator of the most efficient way to spend the holiday season, the proof is in the proverbial pudding.

    But maybe hailing Turkey Day as the Ditka of the holiday season needs more reinforcement then just a pilgrim tradition and peculiar cooking habits. How about money, ah yes, dinero.

    As a college student, money is tight – I don’t have to come knocking at your door with that old idea. So who wants to buy gifts, or invest any thought in predicting what somebody wants this holiday season? I figure, when buying a gift for someone who is not your age, you’re looking at about a 3 percent success rate of getting that special someone exactly what he or she was looking for … honestly, I’d face better odds not getting diarrhea from a greasy pizza puff. It’s entirely inefficient, and in today’s day and age there’s no room for inefficiency.

    So send that gravy my way and save that And one cut-off for a rainy day. I’m starving.