Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Is the holiday blues contageous?

I honestly haven't been feeling really horrid (yet) about Thanksgiving and then the dreaded march to the "you don't fit in anywhere for the next 8 weeks" holiday. But that was before I read Izzy's post today, where she talked about how sad she was feeling about Thanksgiving due to her lack of family.

Well, me too, Izzy. Me too. I try to put it out of my mind, but the reason I hate Thanksgiving more than any other holiday is because it's all-encompassing. It's for everyone that lives in the US and even for the ex-pats overseas. It's an American holiday. It's not a Christian holiday, or a Hallmark holiday, or a made up holiday. It's a traditional American holiday based, oddly enough, on Sukkot, a Jewish holiday. It is also a holiday that was designed to spend with your family. You don't go to church or synagogue, you don't congregate at parks to watch fireworks, you don't march in parades (unless you're in NYC and affiliated with Macys), you don't travel to far off lands.

You get together with your family and sometimes your friends and you eat. Some families dress up, some wear jeans. Some celebrate at the matriarch's house year after year, other families rotate amongst the different homes of which their family is comprised. The glaring point is, they all gather with families. You know, it's Norman Rockwell all over the USA.

Except there are lots of us out there that are Thanksgiving orphans. We don't have families. Or we do, but they are toxic. Or too far away. Or don't speak to us. Whatever the reason, Thanksgiving orphans feel a tremendous amount of pain this time of year. They don't belong anywhere. Nothing is weirder than celebrating with friends who invite your family almost as an afterthought, and you end up as the odd family out in a crowd of relatives that don't belong to you. It doesn't feel good. It just emphasizes the isolation you feel as a Thanksgiving orphan.

When I was younger and childless, I used to do Thanksgiving with several other orphan families. That was fine. We were all feeling alone and out of the mainstream. But when you're in your own family, albeit a small family of three, people tend to forget you exist. Or assume that you have someplace to go.

Plenty of us in blogland don't have a place to go. We need extra comfort and extra love this time of year. We need to come together in some way to celebrate each other as orphans. We need to feel loved and wanted.

So how do we do this? I've come up with a couple of ideas, but I'm not sure if they're any good. I was thinking of a conference call amongst those of us far away from each other but alone for Thanksgiving. Or maybe a small family Thanksgiving blog where we could share our lonely little holiday existance. What about reaching out to each other and inviting those of us who are close by to join together? Maybe sending card thru snailmail to those you know are going to be alone.

Anyone have any ideas?
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Blogger Sudiegirl said...

That's a great idea!

A church I used to go to had a "widows and orphans" thanksgiving. even though the title was insulting, the concept wasn't...basically, those who didn't have any family to spend the holiday with were invited to spend it with others like them.

That's a good concept, I think.

9/11/06 1:54 PM  

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