Next month's collision of two holidays - Thanksgiving and Hanukkah - is a great opportunity. Not the marketing kind of opportunity, although that's already on a fast track.
For example, there is, as an Associated Press story noted, the invention of the "Menurkey" by a 9-year-old boy. T-shirt manufacturers have already launched an array of designs to commemorate the occasion.
While marketing this holiday calendar quirk is fine, if not bordering on sacrilege, that's not the opportunity I'm talking about.
Instead, it's a great opportunity to resurrect a movement of monumental proportions. Easter moves around on the calendar, spreading itself across March and April. Hanukkah, based on the Jewish calendar, also moves around a bit. Not as much as Easter, mind you, as the next time these two holidays will fall on the same day is estimated to be 790,000 (or so) years from now. Don't leave the turkey out to thaw and don't leave the menorah candles lit waiting for that one.
SO, IF THESE TWO HOLIDAYS can move around and remain intact, why not Thanksgiving itself? Sound familiar? It should. It's been covered in this column space before.
It's OK that Christmas cannot move around. Ignore the fact we moved Washington's birthday around and then clumped all other presidents' birthdays into that one day, made it land on a Monday so department stores could have gigantic white sales and thus created another long holiday weekend.
Otherwise, birthdays don't move around the calendar. If the big guy doesn't change His son's birthday, then you and I don't get to change ours so we can get a long weekend. And so it goes that Christmas can land on any given day of the week, but always remains Dec. 25.
But Thanksgiving? It's not a birthday, it's not even a religious holiday. It's just a day that came to be as a means of saying "Thank you, God, that the Native Americans did not kill us all when they had a chance and, some would say, should have if they only knew then how we were going to treat them in the end, even after sharing a fine meal with them."
Thanksgiving has, of course, evolved since then. It became a holiday in which we are supposed to gather to give thanks for all our bounty and share time with family - family that at any other time of the year we would curse but now lovingly hug. Which, in some cases, is probably brought on by the wine served during the Thanksgiving feast, but never mind that.
THANKSGIVING AS WE KNOW IT today is also a great marketing gimmick that helps make poultry states less paltry and pumps up the budget of New York City with an endless parade of oversized balloons that have little or nothing to do with giving thanks or Native Americans or even family. Actually, the parade is all about promoting TV shows, singers, Broadway shows, cartoon characters and? Oh, come on! You know what else. Christmas! More specifically, Christmas shopping. For heaven's sake, it's the Macy's parade. And the last float in the parade? $anta Clau$. The message of the parade is simple: Give thanks for whatever, but now give money buying gifts till it hurts. Your bank account.
But you know what? That's OK, too. Getting in the Christmas spirit is a good thing. It's when we get all warm, sappy and caring like Jim Carrey in Ron Howard's version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." And really, if that works so well, stirring the hearts while stirring the economy, then so be it.
Thanksgiving is fine, it's just that - finally getting back to the whole point of this column - it falls on the wrong day. C'mon, you people who make up holidays. Get some sense, will you? This should be something even John Boehner and President Obama can agree on.
MANY PEOPLE GET TO TAKE the Thanksgiving holiday off, but have to return to work the very next day. And when they do, they're not worth a damn. They're overstuffed, possibly hungover and, in some cases, worn out from staying up all night to find that one stupid $35 DVR during the Black Friday sale.
Sure, Black Friday is as important as Santa Claus' lead-in to the Christmas shopping season. I get that, but wouldn't it make sense to just move Thanksgiving one day on the calendar? Drop it on the fourth Friday of every year instead of the fourth Thursday. Then Black Friday can become Black Saturday and all the retailers still get a big kick to the season of shopping.
Meanwhile, those people who actually do want to spend some time traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house can do so without having to make it a day trip and risk wrecking while in an L-tryptophan-induced coma.
Whiting is executive editor of the Index-Journal. Contact him at 943-2522; email firstname.lastname@example.org ,or follow him on Twitter at IJEDITOR. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper's opinion.