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Be Thankful, And Look Good Doing It

Article by Elizabeth Johnson

The Christmas season is well under way. Any store you enter is full of the magic of potential Christmas expenditure, with all the tinkly music and garish color schemes that accompany the birth of the Baby Jesus.

Now, when I was a kid, there were several holidays that came in between the Fourth of July and Christmas. Thanks to the power of the All American Dollar and the advent of neighborly and not-so-neighborly contests to determine the best Martha Stewart wannabe in the neighborhood, one can also buy a flotsam of plastic corpses, skeletons, ghosts, and headstones with which to spookily adorn one’s yard for the invasion of Trick or Treaters on October 31.

However, for one of the nation’s most beloved holidays, department stores dedicate almost no floor space. Really, what would be the point? How many orange and brown crepe paper turkeys and straw cornucopias can one really buy from one year to the next? After all, turkey day décor really only works for one day, since you know you have to tear it all down on Leftover Friday and start unraveling 47 miles of Christmas lights that may or may nor work – or more likely will work just fine until you hang it on the tree.

It’s important to remember, though, that Thanksgiving is a truly important holiday. It is indicative of the wealth of riches we all have in this country. It is reminiscent of the first gourmet club on American soil. Moreover, Thanksgiving is a symbol of our gratitude – or alleged gratitude – for what we’ve been given in this country: opportunity, freedom, large supermarkets with more food on the pet aisle than many towns in third world countries have between every single last resident.

Thanksgiving has been held on our soil since Sept. 8, 1565, when Spaniards landed at what is now San Augustine, Florida, and held a Mass to thank God for getting them safely to the New World. Similar random celebrations were held until the first traditionally recognized Thanksgivings, which were held at Virginia Colony in 1619 and at Plymouth Colony in 1621. The latter is the much-acclaimed Thanksgiving of American legend, with the Indian Squanto helping to plan the harvest feast and its bi-lingual guest list.

During the Revolutionary War, various Thanksgiving celebrations were held following victory after battle, and in 1789, President George Washington declared the first official November Thanksgiving holiday. Several presidents called for Thanksgivings at various times up until the Civil War, and the holiday was commemorated mostly in New England.

It was President Abraham Lincoln, however, who created the national Thanksgiving holiday we know today. The event became the most important holiday for the Victorian hostess, because it gave her the opportunity to pull out all the stops and show off her recipes and entertaining skills to her neighbors. In fact, the meal we all know today – turkey, which was readily available to most Americans, cranberry sauce, potatoes, fall vegetables, and pies made from fall fruits such as apples and pumpkins – is a testament to the ingenuity of the American cook.

College and professional football became a staple of the long holiday weekend as early as the 1920s, because people could take time off to travel to faraway games. Hence, you’ll see a lot of college rivalry games held over the turkey weekend. When television began making inroads in American living rooms in the 1950s, professional football was a natural – it gave the men something to do while the women tied on their aprons and pounded the heck out of a bag of taters and debated whether in-the-bird stuffing was teeming bacteria or just plain yummy.

I don’t know when Thanksgiving became the slobfest that it is today. To me, when someone goes to the effort to make mountains of food and set out the good china, it’s just downright rude to show up in your college sweatshirt and your stretchiest pants. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for our gifts – our material ones and our spiritual ones. Why not make it an occasion?

Surprise your loved ones by showing up in a suit – or for Pete’s sake, at least a jacket and tie. Make the tie festive with seasonal colors. By this, by the way, I do not mean a tie covered with little turkeys or a big one or a blown-up photo of George W. pardoning this year’s White House bird. Pick something autumnal and rich, and you can work it into your Christmas party wardrobe for this year.

Add some interest to your cuffs – and take the pressure off your table manners – by wearing a pair of beautifully crafted cufflinks. For Thanksgiving, you could choose pumpkin cufflinks or a pair of pewter cuff links emblazoned with grapes – a perfect nod to the harvest traditions of American Thanksgiving. You could go the other way and pay homage to the sport weekend with a pair of sterling silver footballs or a pair of sports team cuff links.

Any way you go – remember to kiss the cook.

About the Author

Whether your interests are in silver, gold, artistic, sports, or other theme-related cufflinks we’ve got you covered. Cufflink Aficionado carries a broad range of men’s cufflinks designed to meet each connoisseur’s individual style and interest. Our selection of holiday cufflinks are sure to top off that perfect look.

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