I was all set to write an entirely different article on typeface, but when I realized it was to be published on Thanksgiving, I had to reconsider. Turkey Day is undoubtedly my favorite holiday despite being a vegetarian, and should I have chosen to ignore it by blogging about Helvetica, I wouldn’t have been representing myself fairly. So what does one do when they want to stick to their column theme but discuss a distinctively American holiday? One googles “Thanksgiving AND grassroots movement”. Surprisingly, the first link, a lovely article by Readers Digest, gave me just want I was hoping for: Respect the Bird.
Respect the Bird is, as my Google search might suggest, a grassroots movement; but it is not about sparing the lives of turkeys nationwide, though I can see how it might be misconstrued. Respect the Bird instead aims to take back Thanksgiving from the overbearing, daunting shadow of Black Friday. Allrecipes.com blogger, Doug Matthews, sparked the movement last year when he asked his readers to give Thanksgiving it’s proper recognition. Essentially, Matthews pointed out that Thanksgiving has been reduced to a day of overzealous eating shoved somewhere between Halloween and the madness that is Christmas consumerism. It’s not difficult to notice. The day after Halloween I was served my festive Pumpkin Spiced Latte in a red Starbucks cup – red being their signature winter holiday look. A week later while I was creeping on Facebook I noticed a few portraits with Santa. Though the Christmas spirit of my friends is warm and cozy (something I do love), I have to point out the importance of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a non-denominational holiday that brings people together in the most sincere way possible – over food.
Respect the Bird isn’t trying to bring about massive social justice; it’s trying to reinvigorate the spirit that once was, the spirit that embraces family time, gifts from the earth (yes, mashed potatoes), and more importantly the spirit the evokes thankfulness. It’s ok to venture out to the mall for some Black Friday shopping, but don’t rush to Walmart right after Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t spend Thanksgiving Day prepping for the next holiday. Relax, eat good food, talk with your loved ones, whoever they are, and recognize what you have to be thankful for.
Allrecipes.com is asking readers to take the “Respect the Bird Pledge” this year. It’s just a gesture, but it shows a collective consciousness of the importance of this otherwise simple holiday. Please take the pledge. And please, get off of your computer and eat some Tofurky. Happy Thanksgiving!