It’s causing me some concern and consternation that the American holiday of Thanksgiving is creeping on the British calendar. I know it’s a very important day in the US, but it is of absolutely no significance whatsoever in the UK. I don’t want to rain on the parade, but it annoys me. I’d look pretty dumb trying to get the US interested in the 13th century signing of the Magna Carta, an event arguably of even more fundamental importance. We don’t expect the States to understand Guy Fawkes’ Night either. Trick or treat is a bad enough import, but at least it does have some European roots, even if now it’s impossible to walk the streets without some hulking adolescent agreeing not to beat you up in exchange for sweets. Thanksgiving? Come on.
There’s a real problem with the food from my point of view. Apparently some UK stores have sold 95% more turkeys in the past couple of weeks than even a year ago. Unless there’s been an unprecedented influx of expats, a lot of Brits are falling for the ruse. Perhaps one of those expats can explain to me the logic behind sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow, as available. A simple explanation of marshmallows wouldn’t go amiss, since they’re the food of the devil. I don’t get pumpkin pie either.
More insidious is the sudden adoption in the UK of Black Friday. Since Thanksgiving is of no inherent importance, there can be no excuse for this tradition from across the water. It’s simply an excuse to stoke the fires of rampant spending in the runup to Christmas, and in my view there’s quite enough spending in December. There’s only a certain amount of money around, and encouraging people to get into more debt is just plain cynical.
I hope everybody in the US has a good day, I really do. But don’t expect me to be dancing in the streets, or going on an orgy of shopping tomorrow.