Will the pumpkin shortage ruin your thanksgiving?

Whew! Last week was a busy one. Not only did I “drop the blog,” I fell behind on NaNoWriMo. I’ll be scrambling to make up for those days missed during the rest of the month; and planning this week’s Thanksgiving feast, and making Christmas lists, and doing our family picture, and hauling all the boxes of Christmas decorations out of the crawl space.  
(Didn’t we just put them away?)
Anyway, as this is Thanksgiving week, and everyone is blogging and tweeting and messaging about Thanksgiving, and making lovely lists about all the things they are thankful for, I have a confession to make…
Thanksgiving is NOT my favorite holiday.
I know, I know. That’s practically a sacriligious statement, but I can’t help it. I’ve never been all that fond of the annual feast of the bird that seems to have become a massive celebration of gluttony. The preparation of mass quantities of food that find their way to the back of the fridge only to be discarded in a biohazard receptacle right before we do it all again at Christmas does not thrill me.
And so yesterday afternoon, while I laid out our menu plan and grocery list for the week, I came upon an article in the Howell County News by publisher Kim Wehmer titled “Getting Ready to Give Thanks – What’s On Your Shopping List?” (You can read the whole article here.)

And then I heard about the shortage of canned pumpkin that threatens the very fiber of our Thanksgiving celebrations: pumpkin pie. Whatever will we do? Will it even feel like a real Thanksgiving if we have to pumpkin pie? If we’re missing the pie, why bother to celebrate?
(Yes, that’s sarcasm you hear in the tone of my typing.)

Thanksgiving and tradition are almost synonymous. Traditions are part of what make holidays special. The annual revisiting of smells and flavors and sights and textures that remind us of family, friends, and happy memories.
Wehmer’s article points out that the first Thanksgiving feast wasn’t traditional at all, nor did most of our current foodie traditions spring forth from that famous meal, a joining of two different cultures around the theme of thanking their Creator for supplying their needs.

“Historical accounts say that for the first Thanksgiving in 1621, the pilgrims went out and killed the deer to eat and gathered food for the three-day feast.There were no worries about what groceries had what on sale. Why? Because they ate what they had and gave thanks for it.

I’m not encouraging you to stay home from the grocery store this week. I’m not encouraging you to boycott Thanksgiving grocery sales.
Instead, I’m encouraging you to take some time to remember the reason for the holiday.

 The pilgrims threw a feast like no other because they were thankful.”
I want you to imagine something: consider the status of your pantry and refrigerator right now. Whether it’s full (because you are one of those wonderfully well-organized creatures who has already done the Thanksgiving shopping excursion) or empty. Now, imagine the following scenario: Thanksgiving has suddenly been moved up two days. You’ll be creating your holiday meal for all your family, friends, and a number of strangers, from what you have on hand.
All your guests will be bringing food as well, from the things they have on hand. There are no rules, no preconceived notions of what will be on the menu, it’s just going to be a massive pot luck.
An assortment of food dishes at a church potluck.

Maybe it’s just me, but this idea intrigues me. How much more would I be able to celebrate God’s abundance, His mercy to provide the means to make another meal, if the food itself wasn’t the primary attention-getter of the day?
What if I wasn’t worried that I can’t make the stuffed celery the way my husband always had it at his house, or that I forgot to get the ingredients for the marshmallow salad, or will I lay aside my own family tradition of giblet gravy and use that nasty stuff in the jar because no one will eat the giblet gravy except me? What if none of that mattered? That’s the point. None of that does matter.
But we may have to do something drastic – like have an impromptu come-as-you-are pot luck gathering or leave off all the traditional foods – and try something new. Do something to get your mind and body out of the ruts created by years of turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie and over into a place of truly being thankful for all that we’ve been given. What could it be? What do you do to stir up a thankful heart during this holiday feast for yourself and for your family?

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2 thoughts on “Will the pumpkin shortage ruin your thanksgiving?

  1. Karla Akins says:

    Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday. Whew. Finally something you and I are NOT alike in! LOL.

    And I don't like it for the food. I like it for its history. It reminds me and those I love of all the things we have to be thankful for. I enjoy reading about the miracle of Squanto – how God allowed him to be kidnapped so he could learn English and later help the pilgrims survive.

    I like remembering how the pilgrims risked their lives and their families to come here only because they wanted to worship God freely, in their own way. They didn't want a priest telling them what they could and could not read in the Bible. In those days, even reciting the Lord's Prayer could get you jailed. They had to worship in secret. They wanted to be free to worship in the open.

    I like how they lived at peace with the Native Americans for 50 years before greed in other European settlements crept in.

    I like knowing that Abraham Lincoln suggested this holiday.

    And I like that everyone is encouraged to be thankful on this day. To be thankful means they surely have to think Who they are ultimately thankful to.

    And as for leftovers, mine never go to waste. I have too many big appetites in this house! There are never any leftovers left by the following Monday!

    Not everyone focuses on the food. If they do, then I could understand why people don't like Thanksgiving. But for me, it's not about the food. The food is just the excuse to get together and enjoy each other's company. I do admit that I try to fix one favorite dish of each of the kids'. But that's not the why of the holiday, just a traditional part.

    There is a curious idea floating around that the Pilgrms got the idea of Thanksgiving from the Hebrew holiday ordained by God, Sukkot. Of course, we may never know if this is true or not. But I like thinking that it might be!

  2. Debra E. Marvin says:

    Niki is in the minority here. I'm sure of it!! 🙂

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday too. All the food and family of Christmas without the pressure to please!

    I bought a can of pumpkin a few weeks ago but I'm going to supplement that pie with a sweet potato pie, so I'm all set thank you.

    I can't imagine the life then (1600s) or now where we are not allowed to freely worship, but I see a future where Christians become more and more regulated and even despised for clinging to the word of God. For now, I take the holiday as a time to focus on how wonderful our lives are and how thankful I am for getting together with my family over a good meal (why do we only do this menu once a year?)

    Enjoy your week Niki!

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