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Power Ranking The Elements Of Thanksgiving

1. Three-Day Week/Four-Day Weekend

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I think we can all get behind this as the number one, undisputed reason that Thanksgiving week is the tops. Monday is pretty much Wednesday. Tuesday is pretty much Thursday and Wednesday is one of those magical day-before-a-holiday workdays, where you will work for a few hours and then ghost sometime around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Leaving work early on Wednesday is a time honored tradition. Taking a nap, traveling or otherwise, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving might be my favorite thing all year. Why? Well, scroll down to the next one.

2. Black Wednesday

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The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest bar night of the year in certain places. Yes, it’s even bigger than New Year’s Eve, even bigger than St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras and Cinco de Mayo. I don’t know how big it is anywhere else in the country, but I know it’s a huge occasion in my Midwestern hometown. The college kids want to show off how much they can drink to their hometown friends, the postgrads want to prove to everyone that they can still drink like the college kids and the older married people cut it loose because they left their kids with their parents. It’s a gigantic reunion tour of what I like to call “weird drunk” that will likely end with you hooking up with someone you knew from high school, more than likely an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend or someone’s divorced parent. Never underestimate the power of “weird drunk.”

3. Food

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Thanksgiving food is the best kind of food. It reminds you of home. There’s warmth to it. It’s delicious. It’s “hearty,” which is really just another word for absurdly unhealthy. Your sodium levels will be off the charts afterwards, but salt is a preservative, so if anything, you’re just going to live for a really, really long time. At least that’s my perspective on the matter. If any of your family members try to tell you about cutting calories at Thanksgiving dinner, you are well within your bounds to kick them out of your family’s house, indefinitely.

4. Football

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Thanksgiving is the ultimate American holiday outside of the Fourth of July. Gorging yourself on the flesh of a slaughtered bird, mashed potatoes and yams slathered in gravy while watching the two teams get after it on the gridiron is about as American as it gets. Food isn’t the only thing you feast on Turkey Day. If you can make it through the 20-something live shots of Jerry Jones in the owner’s box, you have 10 straight hours of pure, pigskin bliss.

5. TV

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Besides football, there’s a bevy of solid TV on Thanksgiving and through the weekend. Yeah, there’s DVR and on-demand, but this is America and it’s your right to be too lazy to make decisions for yourself, especially during Thanksgiving. The tryptophan will dull your senses as you prepare for an Indiana Jones marathon. You can skip that flaming pile of crap that is known as Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, because Christmas Vacation will be on some other channel. That’s just a real nice surprise, Clark.

6. Christmas Music

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I’m of the belief that Christmas music is a sacred holiday tradition that has been humped into irrelevance by corporate retail conglomerates. You think I want to hear Kenny G’s Christmas album year round? Well, that’s not a good question, because yes. Yes, I would like to hear Kenny G’s Christmas album year round. I celebrate the man’s entire catalog, but that’s not the point. I can remember when a local radio station started playing Christmas music on November 1st one year. The backlash was incredible. Less than a year later, that radio station ceased to exist. The people had spoken. First of all, there aren’t enough Christmas songs in the first place. There are just hundreds of different versions of a few dozen songs. It gets old quickly. Moderation. That’s the key. Keep it special.

7. Turkey Puns

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Why didn’t the taxidermy turkey want seconds? Because he was stuffed. Now, excuse me while I go punch myself in the groin repeatedly.

8. Travel

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I cannot stand traveling during the holidays. The terminals are crowded, the roads are in terrible condition, the flights are delayed and the people are the worst. Tommy Lee Jones said it best in Men In Black: “People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.” You get a group of stressed out people who are all in a hurry, thinking they’re more important than anyone else, and you get chaos. It’s never more true than in an airport during the holidays. Nothing will make you lose faith in the human race quicker than the rudeness and self-importance that comes out of people at the airport when they’re trying to check eight pieces of luggage. It does make for great people watching, though. So there’s that. The holidays are all about appreciating what you’ve got, because soon enough, that will be you trying to fight the gate agent over the weight of your sixth checked bag.

9. Christmas Commercials

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There are some holiday mainstays that I absolutely love. The Hershey’s Kiss “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” ad. The M&M Santa ad. The Corona “Feliz Navidad” ad. All classics that remind me of a time gone by. However, for every Coca-Cola polar bear commercial, there’s a god awful Pomplamoose Hyundai ad or cheesy, over the top…

10. Jewelry Store Christmas Commercials

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After working in a retail store in high school and some parts of college, there was nothing worse than hearing the same Zales, Jared and Helzberg diamond commercials over and over again on the store’s TVs. Whoever comes up with these commercials should be treated as an enemy of their own state, sent to Guantanamo Bay and never allowed back on US soil. As the years have gone by, these commercials have not changed one bit and are absolutely the worst part about Thanksgiving.

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Brian McGannon

What do I love? I love happy hour, a good golf tan, and getting moderately drunk during dinner.

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