If you stepped foot in a Target anytime after the first of October, you were likely innundated with Christmas trees, spangly Santas, singing snowmen and aggressive holiday lights—a stressful and confounding sight when global warming has insured that summer lasts until at least November. Even though an early Christmas is a good way to distract from the more tangible horrors of the world, Target has heard the cries of its loyal customers—this year, they’re going to give Thanksgiving a chance.
The AP reports that Target plans to “ ease in holiday promotions this year while better recognizing Thanksgiving” as a way of offsetting the “Christmas creep,” which is not a cute nickname for your sister’s boyfriend, but the phenomenon of the Christmas retail season starting earlier and earlier every year. To combat this and to assure its customers that it’s actually listening, Target is planning on keeping Thanksgiving signs up at the entrance and focusing a little bit more on the entertaining and and meal preparation aspects of what I truly believe is the best holiday in the entire calendar year.
“They want us to pause, and be really intentional and recognize Thanksgiving,” Rick Gomez, Target’s chief marketing officer told the AP. “What they don’t want us to do is go right into Christmas. So, we are going to respect that.”
Rushing full-tilt into Christmas is stressful mostly because it acknowledges the rapid passage of time and how it seems to accelerate the older you get. “God, it’s Christmas already?” you say as you push a cart down the aisle looking for socks and deodorant, shoving aside candy cane print fleece slippers and giant, inflatable holiday lights. “Where has the time gone?” you wonder. “What have I done with my life?”
Emphasizing Thanksgiving during that stretch between Halloween and Christmas allays the fear of death by reminding you that there’s no need to panic—there’s one holiday before the one where you have to spend money on presents and gripe to anyone who will listen about how much Aunt Linda sucks and how you wish you could spend the holiday doing whatever it is you want for just one freaking year.
The ineffable warm cheer and constant wine-tipsiness that accompanies the holiday season is wonderful, but Thanksgiving is a holiday devoted to eating and it deserves recognition. It’s not even really a “holiday,” it’s just a day that many Americans get off work to celebrate a slightly problematic feast from the Pilgrim times when children and adults were named things like Cotton and Verity. Centuries have erased its problematic roots and we are left with a holiday that features a groaning table full of mashed root vegetables, various gravies, pie for days, and a giant bird that is the slightest bit dry, but makes for excellent sandwiches the next day. You eat the food and if you’re the one cooking the meal, you start drinking quietly as soon as you put the bird in the oven. There’s a dog show on TV after a dumb parade with balloons and the cast of Kevin Can Wait, waving gamely from the prow of a float.
It’s less high-stakes than the Christmas season; one can reasonably negotiate with their family that they can only make one of the big holidays, and you can throw your own Thanksgiving at your home, or eat pizza and watch cable in dead silence. It’s the best holiday and it deserves its due.
This year, I’m thankful for Target.