We need a Thanksgiving manifesto

If you spend enough time on Facebook, you see several notifications posted by your less cool friends about how “Today is Fried Pie/Clean the Kitchen/Slap a Friend Day.” Do I have to fry or eat a pie? Or is this merely a suggested time in which we are to reflect upon the contributions fried pies have made to society? Cleaning the kitchen should probably occur more frequently than this annual holiday suggests. Finally, slapping a friend? If you think that sounds fun, your friends need new friends.

Let’s get rid of all these dumb daily holidays. If you want to go on celebrating Clean the Kitchen Day, you may, but I’m going to be practicing for Thanksgiving. It’s never too early to try on each pair of jeans you own, eat a big meal, and find the absolute stretchiest pair. Better yet, go for the yoga pants. Gentlemen, wear yoga pants at your own discretion.

Instead, we should have semi-respectable holidays that break up our collective Thanksgiving/Christmas stress.

All media sources must stop talking about dieting a week before both Thanksgiving and Christmas. They may resume as soon as the holiday is over. The first day of this holiday must be celebrated with a collective sigh. The rest of it must be celebrated with increased self-confidence and stretchier pants. The name of this holiday will be, The Only Breach of the First Amendment That We All Agree Is OK.

If I hear one more person suggest I replace my turkey dressing with a kale mush, I will no longer be responsible for my actions. Kale will never replace the salty, buttery, carb-y goodness that is dressing and its rightful place in my stomach.

Instead of Black Friday, we should have an actual blackout. Stores should remain closed, and people should use as little artificial light as possible. This additional day off, delaying the craze of super! super! low deals, will give us sufficient time to hydrate and overcome the turkey induced lethargy. Blackout Friday should be spent drinking water in dimly lit rooms while doing quiet activities in quiet voices and occasionally, quietly, nibbling a carrot. Light activity breaks should be taken out of doors throughout the day. This is the only way to recover from gross inebriation, gross consumption of fats, and over-exposure to the in-laws.

Two weeks before both Thanksgiving and December should be deadlines for announcements about dietary restrictions.

Are you going gluten free? Not because your doctor said you should, but because that one person who drives you craziest is now vegetarian and you desperately want to one up their arrogant lunch-time lectures? Do you no longer eat celery, mostly because you find it stringy and gross? Have you realized that shellfish give you a slightly itchy tongue?

None of these can be announced 13 days before the Big Meal. If it isn’t life threatening (no one in the family thinks an itchy tongue is life threatening), it can’t be announced any closer to the biggest culinary events of your mother’s year. You have no idea how long she’s been planning this menu. These days will be known as Speak Your Intolerance Now! I and II. If you are intolerant of other racial, cultural, or religious groups, there may be a day for announcing that, but this is not it.

With the holidays being some of the most stressful times of the year, we should take the time to assure we are at our best. There’s no use worrying about those few extra pounds, because guess what, everyone else is worrying about the same thing. I cannot stress how important it is to be functioning at your physical and mental best before driving a car in holiday traffic or steering a cart in Target on Black Friday.

For those of us who are not yet hosting our own family get togethers, put the dishes in the dish washer, eat around the celery, and thank your hosts. We can get through the holidays, and we will be stronger on the other side!

Lila Tibbets is a Newton resident, farm girl and unrepentant enjoyer of all things Thanksgiving.