I’ve grown to hate “civil” Thanksgiving

We should be thankful to God every day for our many blessings. That said, seems to me that the USA “Thanksgiving “ has become a hollow holiday, and I wish the Church would establish a separate observance where the true spirit of Thanksgiving would be promoted.

As it is now, “Thanksgiving “ begins with a worship of Mammon and materialism in the form of the Macy’s parade. Things then move along to major worship of the real “god” of this country- sports - in all the football games. Somewhere along the line a meal takes place whose major functions are a celebration of gluttony, and the acquisition of calories to fuel the next day’s Liturgy of Materialism celebrated in the Temples (malls) all around the country. “Thanksgiving “ today isn’t the Norman Rockwell version, and I’m saddened and turned-off by it all.

And on top of all that, the “holiday” was first declared by a president (Lincoln) with no identifiable Christian beliefs, holding-up for honor the “Pilgrims “ who were rabidly anti-Catholic, living in a place (what became Massachusetts) that discriminated against Catholics well into the 20th century, and which outlawed Christmas until some time in the 1800’s. It’s just all too sad, what it has all become. I’ve begun to understand why some groups, like the SDA’s, don’t observe holidays.


"Lighten up, Francis. " This stuff done in moderation, and skipping over the activities one personally might not enjoy, is fun. The vast majority of Church goers, including the priests, enjoy some aspect of the holiday, whether it’s watching the ball games or getting together with family for a meal or getting together with their best friends on Wednesday night, Thursday evening, or Friday.

If you hate the holiday, fine. You’re free to go to Mass and then eat something other than turkey. McDonalds usually has a few open outlets. You might even be able to find a place to volunteer feeding the hungry a Thanksgiving meal. Or you could spend the entire day in prayer thanking God for his blessings instead of focusing on negativity, or doing whatever else you like. No one is making you participate in holiday activities.

As for the Church creating some kind of separate observance, like I said, they have Mass in the morning. What more do you need? We don’t need to replace the Macy’s parade with a Eucharistic procession (and in fact my parish just had one last night anyway for the close of 40 Hours Devotion).


By your first quote, it seems the holiday has become exactly what it was designed to be, a secular day of Thanksgiving, not restricted to a particular religious dogma or belief.


It certainly can be. I could hardly care less about the parade and football, but I do enjoy the gathering of family and friends, and we begin the meal with a prayer of thanksgiving. Be in the world but not of the world, and enjoy your Thanksgiving!


Every holiday in a worldly sense has become a hollow holiday. The minute commercialization becomes a part of it that is the focus. But what we as Christians and Catholics have to do is ALWAYS keep the spiritual significance of each and every holiday in the forefront. Just because the world goes in the wrong direction doesn’t mean we have to. we are the adults in our homes and we make the decisions for our own families not the world.


As long as you have gratitude in your heart every day, you aren’t required to celebrate just because it’s a date on the calendar.

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I understand what you mean about the commercialism and materialism of these celebrations. The spirit of the holiday becomes lost in the ‘Hallmark card’ mentality.

But we have a choice, we can say no to it. We can get back to the grass roots of these celebrations.
Ways to do this include giving your time at events that need volunteers, donating time, goods, money, A person on limited resources can still donate their time.

Thanksgiving is regionally specific The universal Church tends more to promote universally specific things.

It is not a requirement though to have gratitude daily unless that is for God.


That’s the great thing about Thanksgiving in America. We are all free to worship and give thanks and celebrate the day however we want.

OP, if you want a “Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving” go for it. I don’t know why it bothers you so much how other people spend their day. You do you.



Thanksgiving is a special time for families to get together around a meal and converse with one another and enjoy a reunion.

When I was a kid and most of my older relatives were still alive, various ones would host the Thanksgiving reunion at their houses, a different relative and different home each year. At that time, there were still a few of the great-grand aunts and uncles, great-aunts and uncles, grandparents, more immediate kin and their children – these were HUGE reunions with HUGE families and a HUGE gathering, all under one roof.

Some years, my own family would host the reunion and everyone would come to our house. It was a chance to bring out the best china and flatware, and put the fine lace tablecloth on the table, and the mood was festive and we enjoyed one another’s company.

We would also have yearly Christmas reunions, again at a different home of a different relative each year.

This went on for several years until they began dying off and the ones who were left were too old to manage it any longer.

This is a blessed holiday, where family members get together who normally don’t see one another very often, and talk and play cards and other games, as well as enjoying the meal, which was the central event.

One doesn’t have to overeat during these holidays. Just take as much or as little as you wish, and select from the offerings those foods which are best for your particular dietary situation. There is usually enough of a selection that everyone can find something they can eat and enjoy.

I never ate the pumpkin pie or the mincemeat pie, because I tried them both once and didn’t like either. So, I simply didn’t have any. When it came to the turkey, I always preferred the dark meat to the light meat, because it was always more moist and tasted better.

The sad thing is for those folks who don’t have families to celebrate with, or who are estranged from them. The holidays are especially lonely for them.


Like most things, it is what you make it. You can make the parade about signaling the start of the Christmas season, a very joyous time for Catholics, or you may focus on the shopping aspect. You may go to black Friday sales or not. You may gorge yourself or eat in moderation and look forward to leftovers. You may be annoyed by football or be grateful for the fun of it.

I will start the day with mass, and then enjoy football and family dinner in the afternoon. We are going out to eat but still cooked a bit for leftovers. I look forward to turkey sandwiches on toast. Spend what you can afford, focus on people, simplify, and if others enjoy some aspects you do not, let them have their fun.


Every year there’s a great deal of unnecessary outrage and confusion about Thanksgiving. Just so everyone knows:

  • It’s not a Holy Day of Obligation

  • It’s a Secular Holiday

  • There’s nothing morally wrong with shopping on that day

  • You’re free to celebrate the Holiday as you wish



We celebrate Thanksgiving at least every Sunday.

The word Eucharist is Greek for Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims knew this.

Also, President Lincoln wanted the visit the Holy Land when he retired.


Thanksgiving has always been a secular celebration. If you do not care to participate, that is a perfectly fine option.


This thread has got me thinking…

Notice the absence of alcoholic drinks on the table?

We had Thanksgiving at our house this year and went through over sixty beers and a ton of mixed drinks.
Due to the mostly secular crowd, prayers stopped years ago.
While most of us ate (stuffed), at two large tables the talk mostly centered on past and future bragcations.
Then football and secular talk.

I think next year I may try something different.


I love the Macy’s Parade! My daughter works in the entertainment industry in NYC, and this parade publicizes a lot of the shows, which brings people to NYC to buy tickets, which means that my daughter gets to pay her rent and eat!

And there are so many traditions with the Macy’s Parade, and so much volunteerism! It’s awesome!

Of course, I love ANY parade!

And I LOVE FOOTBALL!! It’s fun to sit with my husband and/or other relatives and revel in the games!

And I love the dinner! It’s one of the few times a year when we actually make all those dishes and have multiple choices–usually our meals are a protein, a vegetable, a starch (like baked potato or a slice of bread), and that’s IT. It’s FUN to shop for and prepare all the goodies–my husband and I were up until after midnight, and we tried two new recipes this year (including chocolate “mice” made out of maraschino cherries and Hershey kisses, which we were a big hit!).

If it’s not your thing, fine. But don’t try to make it seem that we who celebrate BIG are somehow failing to practice our faith. Every moment of the season, we are thanking God for all our bounty.

Parades, football and alcohol, these things may not be your cup of tea, however it does not mean that my family and their wine is somehow bad.


This ^^^

It’s been a crazy 6 months for us. We bought our country dream house, sold our old house, then my Father in Law passed away 4 weeks later. Only once did we get for him to roll over from the farm on the 4 wheeler to sit on the porch and have a cold one.

It meant a lot to our family to spend the time at our new house, eat, drink a lot (not 60 beers…maybe 40), spread out in our basement, have football on in the background, and play lots of ping pong. I love Thanksgiving. Always have and always will.


This thread reminds me of one Thanksgiving in our parish when a basket of blank index cards was placed in each entrance of our church, and we were all asked to take a card with us into the service.

When it came time for the homily, our priest explained what the blank cards were for. He asked that we each write (anonymously) on our cards all the things we were thankful for, and place them into the collection basket as it was circulating. When the cards were all collected, he read aloud from a few of them (remember, no names were on them), to remind us of the many blessings bestowed upon us by God.

Some parishioners wrote a few things on one side of their cards, others filled up both sides and ran out of space.

The sad thing was, some parishioners turned in blank cards. They couldn’t think of a single thing to be thankful for. We didn’t know who they were, of course, but the exercise was enlightening, just the same. Some folks feel their lives are so bleak, they haven’t a single blessing to count! Not even their being alive!

What a lonely and dismal existence!


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