Thanksgiving just isn’t the same holiday as it used to be. Used to be just sitting around eating with friends and family. Used to be the day one would rest up for the assault on the Christmas sales the upcoming weekend. Used to be parades and football. And it used to be the evening when all the Christmas movies and specials would hit the airways and America would fall asleep in front of “It’s a Wonderful Life” having just experienced part of one. It’s time for another tradition to bite the dust.
Where did all the Christmas movies go? It didn’t take a very long look at the TV listings for last Thursday to see an absence of any cinematic welcome to the Yule season. Oh, there were movies. “Jurassic Park,” “Maverick,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” “Eight Men Out,” and “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” all good movies but not a Christmas Tree among them, were featured by the broadcast and basic cable stations. No “Miracle on 34th Street,” no “Christmas Vacation,” not even a “Fred Claus” was beamed into living rooms on Thanksgiving. There must have been too many shoppers out looking for Thursday Night Pre-Black Friday Specials for the networks to take a chance on making the Christmas movie season opener special.
Certainly sometime in the next 25 days we will see all of the “Home Alone” offerings, a “White Christmas,” and several versions of a “Christmas Carol.” If one makes an effort to see them one will see them. Otherwise there will be snippets gleaned while cookies are baked, presents are bought, packages are wrapped, and cards are signed.
Maybe that’s the tradition. Not so much the movies but the memories of them while the hustle and bustle of the season grabs the biggest part of our attention. We’re living in a time when time is more valuable than most of what we do with it. And Christmas is the time when time is at its dearest. There is more of everything in this last month of the year. It might be the only time that our houses look different with seasonal decorations. We spend most of our disposable income right now. More of us go to more churches and services than any other time of the year. We plan, attend, and even avoid some of the only parties of the year right now. We even know we have to bake cookies but we aren’t sure why.
Whether it’s with the memories, the movies, or the cookies, Thanksgiving still starts the Christmas season. Make of it what you will. It’s your time. Even if you choose to spend it watching “The Poseidon Adventure” and swear it really is a Christmas movie. There’s even a tree in it.
Now that’s what we think. Really. How ‘bout you.
(To see some of our favorite Christmas movies, go to “And the Winner is…” from December 24, 2011.)