Friday, November 9, 2012

Why'd the Turkey get screwed?

No, it's not a parody of the "Chicken crossing the road" joke, but an actual question.  It seems that for the past several years the general marketing trend has been to go straight from Halloween to Christmas.  The only real reason I can think of for the stores to give turkey day the big one-fingered salute is that they don't make nearly as much money on Thanksgiving as they do on Christmas.

I like Thanksgiving just as much as Christmas and it saddens me that most everyone is in such a rush to brush off the tryptophan-filled family gathering in order to plow headfirst into the holy grail of the holiday seasons.

I mean, do we really need to be bombarded with not-so-subtle reminders of the gifts we "have" to buy for our family and friends two months ahead of time?  Not that I'm an advocate of rushing around on December 24th trying to pick that special something for that special someone.  Ever been to a mall a few days before Christmas?  A frekking driving, parking, pushing and shoving nightmare.  And nobody seems particularly happy about having to do all that last minute shopping.  It's more like, "Oh crap, I need to get my co-worker - the one whom I don't care for much anyhow - something for the office Christmas party".  

Not only are we buying gifts for people we don't much care for but how many people just end up tossing the first hot cocoa n' mug set or cheap spa gift basket we see into the buggy in order to fulfill the $20 limit on the Secret Santa or family grab bag.  What happened to real gift giving?  Things that may not necessarily cost a lot of money, but come from your imagination and from your heart.  Not that I'm totally knocking gifts that cost a substantial amount of cash, because technically you labored to make that cash, but did you put some time and thought into that gift?

So what got me on this rant?  Besides the Christmas decorations in the stores?  Well, I got a Cabela's Christmas catalog a few days ago.  If you're a regular reader of my blog, you're probably aware of the fact that I'm a cheap skate in regards to damn near everything a lot of things.  And in order to survive on one income, we have to be.  But even if I had, say, an extra $100K a year disposable income, I still don't think I could justify buying something like this for a holiday dinner or a gift:
Twelve 8-ounce fillets for $349.99.
(That's a quantity discount price, btw)
Fifty-eight bucks a pound for a beef fillet?  And I bet it isn't even one of those Japanese beeves that get the massage special before they get a bullet in the cranium.  So, where did that hunk o' beef come from?  How long ago was it butchered?  Was it pumped with hormones & antibiotics, fed ground up parts of other downed bovines?  If you really want to give someone a special hunk of meat, how about supporting your local organically and humanely raised beef, chicken, pork chops or ham?  If you're in the Illinois area, check out South Pork Ranch (here's their blog, and website, although email Donna for up-to-date prices).
$62.99 for a 5-lb. fruitcake.  You'd have to be a frekking
fruitcake if you even considered buying this.
Does anyone actually eat fruitcake nowadays?  It's bad enough if you're the recipient of a five dollar fruitcake that you'll just end up using as a door stop or giving to the chickens, but a sixty dollar fruitcake?   Although if you're a fan of fruitcake, instead of spending sixty-plus bucks on a fruitcake processed "somewhere" why don't you use that money to buy the ingredients (and a bottle or two of wine) and invite a few friends or family members over and have a fruitcake making party?  I bet that the memories from that event will last longer than the overpriced store bought hunk of dried and candied fruit bits.

My favorite though, by far, has to be the forty dollar fruit pies.  Nine inch, not-deep-dish fruit pies, at that.  But maybe I'm being unfair.  Maybe those pies and fruitcakes and frozen cuts of beef are simply the most delicious things to ever come across my pallet, down my throat, through my intestines and out of my........well, you get the idea.  And I guess it's all relative.  If I busted my behind working 60+ hours a week at a six-figure job, I suppose I wouldn't have time to make a pie or fruitcake or whatever and could justify an expense like that.

But since we're a single-income family and I'm a SAHM who is busy scraping animal crap off my boots, collecting eggs or lopping heads off roosters instead of working for a paycheck I'll just have to deal with not being able to give my friends gifts of such high caliber.  The gifts I do give this holiday season will be from the heart, be it homemade or purchased.

And I won't be putting up any Christmas decorations, listening to jingle-bell music nor doing any holiday shopping until after the leftover turkey sandwiches have been consumed.  Sorry Christine!

*I'm not trying to pick on Cabela's.  They are plenty of crazy-insane catalogs out there and honestly, we do occasionally buy things from Cabela's, albeit from their "Bargain Cave".  If you haven't seen their close-outs in the Bargain Cave, go check it out!  There are usually really, really good deals in there.


  1. Love this post! Thanksgiving one of the holidays where family and friends can gather without spending more than we have on things. Now about those fruitcakes.... Please don't use them for door stops... send them my way. I am the only person I know that LOVES them. I could eat them year round.

  2. Sweet Carolyn Renee we both think the same level regarding Christmas gifts. Like you, we are a one income family. I'm very careful on how I spend our money, cut corners when possible, use coupons,and make most things (not all but most). Christmas is suppose to be about family, and giving from the heart. I'm making most gifts (body scrubs, oils, jellies, jams, candy, bread, herb oils, chia mixes and shave cream). It's the thought that really counts.

  3. I just love it when you get wound up! You are singing to the choir here - as I loathe holiday ads, holiday shopping, the complete merchandising of the holiday. I am a fan of Thanksgiving. I love the idea of sitting down to a meal with family and friends and reflecting on all the things I'm thankful for - and then eating myself silly. I live for the leftovers. You could give me a turkey sandwich for Christmas and I would be very happy.

  4. Ditto to both Sandy & Susan! The day after Thanksgiving is the time to put the tree up & decorate for the real Holiday!

  5. Give the turkey a chance! Give the turkey a chance! Give the turkey..... Well, you get the idea. :)

  6. Carolyn Renee... My favorite days reading blogs are those when you rant! You rant better than anyone I know, and with such humor and truth. LOVE it! As for Turkey Day though, I am pretty darn excited that I get to skip it and go out. After last year's hot flippin mess of a Thanksgiving, I am happy to give it the boot this year.

    I have to be honest, even though I am already loathing the too early Christmas ads and commercials and decor-for-sale and all of the HAVE-To-HAVE-ITs, I am kind of excited for Christmas this year. Hubby and I have given each other a budget, and it is small. I am excited to see what I can come up with... No ideas yet!

  7. Yep, I agree with you and the others. They actually started with the Christmas stuff down to our local Wal-Mart BEFORE Halloween, and don't get me started about Black Friday!! Grrr...
    I also enjoy Thanksgiving for the time with family and friends.

  8. It's crazy! I'm a huge fan of Christmas music, and will listen to it as soon as possible, but that usually means Thanksgiving weekend...not so this year, as I was switching stations in the car on Nov 1st and found Christmas music already - what???!

  9. Love your rants! I guess because I usually (maybe always) am in complete agreement.

    I was a SAHM many years ago and had to budget very carefully! I still do to a certain extent. I think it is a good way to live.

    I refuse to even think about the other holiday until mid-month (Dec).

  10. Our local radio station started playing Christmas Music November 1st. Fall decorations of leaf garlands, pumpkins, cornucopias and anything else one would use for Thanksgiving are already on the 50% off sales tables in most of the stores. I am giving gift cards at Christmas. They can pick out their own China made crap.

  11. I'm with you! I actually have trouble finding a little Thanksgiving decoration each year. There's not much on the market. I like Thanksgiving better than Christmas, since there's not the glut of shopping insanity and commercialism. I'm moving more towards a Yule celebration myself...

  12. You rant, I mean write, so well I think you should be a syndicated columnist. (I'm not sure where you should be s syndicated columnist since newspapers are falling by the wayside faster than you can say, "Ooops, there goes another one!") Sometimes I wish our Thanksgiving was in October as it is in Canada. Then maybe it would have more of a chance to be recognized and celebrated as it should be . . . instead of getting the push in the face that it does and on to Christmas! Bah-humbug! Like so much else in our society (family, morals, values, etc.), Christmas is such a far cry from what it should be.

    P.S. Who ARE those people who buy those steaks and fruitcakes? I sure don't know any!

  13. (Sigh...) Yes, yes, I know it's too early for Christmas since it's not even Thanksgiving yet but I can't help but wanting to listen to the Christmas music, watch the corny movies on ABC Family and Hallmark Channel and just stare off into the Twinkly colored lights! One month is not enough time for me to enjoy all that :( Although, I totally understand what you mean about buying the crappy "stocking stuffer" and junk just so you have something to give to someone. Very pointless. BUT my Birthday IS on Christmas so I can listen to the music all year round and not get sick of it.