Is Thanksgiving Canceled?

The note below recently followed students home in their backpacks from an elementary school…

Dear Parent / Caregiver,

In respect to all of our students, please note that we will no longer be celebrating the holidays of Halloween and Valentine’s Day at school. Thank you for keeping your child’s Halloween costume at home.  

In recognition of the individual cultures and lifestyles of their students, many schools are rethinking how and if they should be acknowledging holidays and events that were a given in the era of their student’s parents and caregivers. Gone, are the days of children parading through the hallways in Batman and witches’ costumes. And to help alleviate children from feeling excluded, mailboxes made from decorating shoeboxes to hold Valentine’s Day cards are now a distant memory.    

It’s the next step in what is sometimes unjustly being labeled as Cancel Culture. It wasn’t that long ago when schools acknowledged that Christopher Columbus didn’t really discover America, since the country was already inhabited by Indigenous People wrongly labeled by white Europeans as Indians.

Which brings us to the topic of Thanksgiving. What was once a day to celebrate the coming-together of Pilgrims and Indians, is now a holiday in question, as we learn and recognize that this story is for the most part fictitious, overriding the truth in what was more likely the hostile arrival of people invading the land of Native Americans.

But acknowledging that Thanksgiving is currently a flawed holiday should not stop us from celebrating a day centered around “putting down our weapons” and gathering around the kitchen table for great food and conversation. We need to absolutely recognize and celebrate the true first inhabitants of our country and we should welcome the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Unlike with Christmas, another holiday that embraces family gatherings, Thanksgiving comes without the commercial trappings of artificial Christmas trees and the need to power-shop on Amazon for the latest tech gadgets and toys.

After all, Halloween is just a silly holiday that has morphed from children going door-to-door in search of Snickers bars to grownups throwing elaborate costume parties and front lawns lit up like Christmas. And Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a faux holiday powered by Hallmark, florists, and department stores, encouraging us to buy jewelry and grossly overpriced roses. Perhaps, it’s time we take a step forward and take Thanksgiving in its literal context. A time for Thanks.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that can and should survive the Cancel Culture movement. As schoolbooks are rewritten to tell the true story of Indigenous People, let us celebrate our true first inhabitants of America. And let Thanksgiving continue to be a time when we gather with our family – without the wrapped gifts and without inflatable reindeer on the front lawn. Just turkey legs, stuffing, and love. And football.

Now, if we can just get rid of Black Friday…

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her novel, Chasing North Star is available at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and online wherever books are sold. Follow Heidi at heidimccrary.net and facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor

Is Anyone Listening?

One reason why people are fleeing Facebook

Recent posts on my Facebook newsfeed…

FB Friend 1:               Have you noticed that Facebook has totally taken control of comments                                              they don’t agree with? I think it’s high time to boycott!!

FB Friend 2:               I’m one of the many that will be deleting my FB account. Catch up with me                                          on MEWE, it’s very much like FB, very easy to learn!

There were more similar posts on my newsfeed, but this gives you a snapshot of the volatile temperature currently permeating throughout Facebook and other mass-social media platforms in recent weeks.

If America is seen as the melting pot of immigrants from across the world, our personal newsfeeds on Facebook can be viewed as the mirror of our individual neighborhoods—our own little virtual world, complete with former classmates, third cousins, professional associates, and the uncle who you pray you won’t have to sit next to at the next family gathering. But unlike assigned seating at wedding receptions, we can customize our interaction with our Facebook Friends with options like who sees our posts and the ever-faithful Unfollow option. 

While many will attribute the vastness of Facebook as its downside, its size can (and should) also be applauded for what is right about a social media platform that doesn’t cater to any one belief. But this thought process is not currently being shared by those landing on the far-right of the political spectrum.   

FB Friend 3:               Going to Parler. Tired of the BS big FB brother restricting what I want to say.

FB Friend 4:               The thing that bothers me about Facebook is that it is censoring the conservative voices.

But is there a difference between censorship and performing as a watchdog over conspiracy theories and what the conservatives themselves have penned as Fake News? While the world’s largest social media platform is now traded publicly, it is still a private company with a hands-on CEO who does not have to operate on the same standards as public institutions.

So as my newsfeed slowly shrinks from a wide spectrum of political voices to a more friendly common-voice, I mourn the loss of hearing from ALL SIDES. While these voices do not echo my own views, I believe it is important to hear opinions that differ from my own. And as my conservative friends move their battles to other social media platforms that support and encourage their principles, they are also fed a daily diet of sameness. It is bad for our country and dangerous for our future.

As temperatures cool as a result of time and distance away from the last general election, we must not think that the anger has simmered down—we just aren’t hearing it anymore. While we may all have a voice today, no one seems to be listening.

Heidi McCrary is a writer and a regular contributor to Moxie Magazine. Her novel, Chasing North Star is available now at Kazoo Books, This is a Bookstore, and online wherever books are sold. Follow Heidi at facebook.com/HeidiMcCraryAuthor