I have always liked Thanksgiving, ever since I was a kid. When we first moved to the U.S. and I got a 4-day weekend for the holiday, I thought that was the best thing. I distinctly remember thinking to myself, on that Saturday night, "wow! I've been out of school for three days already and there is a whole other day off left- this holiday rules!" I have a lot of traditions that I maintain for Thanksgiving, some old, and some new. In this post, I want to share some of these traditions with you.
The first is Buy Nothing Day, brought to you by the fine folks at Adbusters. Basically, this event, now in its 15th year, is a way to give the tradition of "Black Friday" a big fat finger. I don't know about you, but the increasing media attention paid every year to throngs of people rushing to the shops the day after Thanksgiving gives me the serious creeps. When did we become lemmings, completely internalizing the idea that we have to wake up early and hit the shops on this day?
And when you think about it, one of the biggest aspects of veganism is a rejection of overconsumption. It's not good to eat without a thought to the impact of your food on the environment, just like it's not good to buy, without a thought to the impact of commercialization and just plain stuff on our mental and physical environment.
What if the corporations threw this pathetic party and nobody went? What if we all decided that the Friday after Thanksgiving was a day for relaxing? exercising? spending time with friends or loved ones? volunteering? doing schoolwork? meditating? participating in activism? making art? knitting? organizing? grooming our pets? making out? raking leaves? sleeping? fixing our bikes? winter-proofing our homes? backing up our files? mending our socks? planting bulbs? writing letters? calling old friends? giving someone a hand? cutting up credit cards?
Daiku and I have been participating in Buy Nothing Day for longer than I can remember- at least 6 or 7 years. I can honestly say that I haven't bought anything on the Friday after Thanksgiving - not a pack of gum, not a piece of fruit, not a used book on Amazon.com - nor have I gone window-shopping - physically or on-line - in all this time, and it rocks! When you don't participate in an event, you get a really good vantage point from which to observe it, and frankly see the insanity in the whole thing. So, check out the BND and Adbusters websites, see if there's an organized event taking place near you to celebrate this event. Find something fun to do this Friday, something that doesn't involve consumption - of anything except Thanksgiving leftovers.
Ahem. So allow me to climb onto my soapbox for just a moment... Brothers and sisters unite! You have nothing to lose but your tired feet from rushing mall-goers stepping on your toes, and your credit card debts! Are you with me?? Buy nothing this Friday!
Whisper as a baby (top left) and all grown-up at Farm Sanctuary in July 2007
The second tradition is the idea of adopting a turkey from Farm Sanctuary instead of eating one. As many of you know, we adopted Whisper last Thanksgiving (we got word the day before the holiday that the adoption had gone through!), and were lucky enough to get to visit her this past summer. She is gorgeous, and our dinner table on Thursday won't be complete without her photo. You can go to http://www.adoptaturkey.org/adopt.htm to find out more about adopting a turkey yourself - it only costs $20! It is such a life-affirming, satisfying thing to do, and much like Buy Nothing Day, it is a great way to just say no to an unappealing aspect of the holiday. (By the way, you can adopt animals all year along, costs vary from $10/month for chickens and $15/month for turkeys, all the way up to over $100/month for a larger animal like a sheep or a cow - look into it if you have been looking for a good charitable cause!)
The final tradition, one that we started seriously paying attention to last year, was the idea of a local Thanksgiving Feast. As some of you might remember, I participated in Treehugger.com's 100-mile Thanksgiving Contest - and won! How cool that a vegan meal placed first, right? But even better was learning how easy it is to discover wonderful sources of food right in my own backyard- I still get food from some of the same producers and farmers that I discovered in designing a 100-mile Thanksgiving meal last year. This year, as you plan your meal, pay close attention to where your ingredients are coming from, and try to be as local and seasonal as you can- your food will taste more delicious that way, anyway!
Here's our local Thanksgiving entry to Treehugger.com last year
Here's last year's Thanksgiving meal post
And here's our other Thanksgiving meal from last year
Here's the post about adopting Whisper
Here's last year's Buy Nothing Day post
I'll post our Thanksgiving Menu tomorrow. Wow- we're VeganMoFo-ing right along! I've never posted this many times in a month- and there's a way to go! I don't even know if anyone will be reading blogs on Thanksgiving, but I will post and we will see!