Lessons Learned from “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”
A Charlie Brown Christmas taught us the true meaning of the holiday and the truly deplorable production values of most elementary school plays. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown taught us the true horror of worshipping false gods and not medicating your dog properly. But what valuable lessons can we learn from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving aside from the fact you will always need more chairs? Read on…
Have Thanksgiving Dinner at Someone Else’s House
Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner is a massive undertaking that involves a great deal of cooking, cleaning, and screaming at anyone who inadvertently falls into your line of sight as you go on about just how much you hate cooking and cleaning. That’s why just like Peppermint Patty you should instead invite yourself over to a friend’s house using the coy, flirtatious demeanor of a big rig driver. Of course, it helps if like Peppermint Patty you have parents who apparently don’t give a damn if you spend the holiday with them or some other family, don’t worry if you spend it inside a warm living room or outside on a late fall day around a ping-pong table, and don’t actually exist since a viral outbreak killed all adults in the Peanuts community years ago.
Most Holiday Traditions Only End in Pain and/or Humiliation
Much like Charlie Brown’s annual attempt to kick a football always begins with understandable doubt and terminates with his hopes shattering like his spine against a cold, hard, November ground, you’ll start Thanksgiving with a healthy dose of skepticism that everything will turn out okay. That will be followed by somehow convincing yourself that despite years of evidence to the contrary, this time it will finally be different. This time you will experience true happiness and accomplishment. And that’s when you’ll give the holiday your all, proceeding full blast with total commitment and belief of your imminent success, only to once again have the fates laugh so hard at you that you can practically hear them choke as you wind up bent-over screaming at the floor in psychological and somatic agony because every damn guest demanded you make their favorite version of mashed potatoes.
It’s not the Food, It’s the Company
Whether you prepare a Thanksgiving feast that shows off your immense culinary skills or just your astounding ability to tear open a few bags of Wonder Bread, Jelly Bellies, and Orville Redenbacher, the dinner is never really about the food. It’s about the people you share (or are commanded to share) it with. Have happy, helpful guests over, and your dinner will be at toast to festive bliss. Have someone like Peppermint Patty over who finds fault with everything and uses the occasion to point out what an utter failure you are on the host, individual, and even corporeal level, however, and you have someone like Charlie Brown, whose already fragile mental state after years of slights is just one more insult away from becoming a grave concern for local authorities.
Consider a Thanksgiving Dinner Just for Two
When people think of Thanksgiving dinner, they believe it must involve countless relatives gathered around a large table, exchanging passive-aggressive remarks while bringing up decades-old feuds as everyone over at the kids’ table thanks God they are sitting at the kids’ table. But just as Snoopy and Woodstock show at the end of the cartoon, sometimes the best holiday meal can be a duo, not a drove. Sure, they who have absolutely no problem screwing over everyone else by serving them pretzel sticks when they had their own giant turkey roasting in the oven. (Nor do they take a moment to question how Woodstock feasting on another bird may explain why Woodstock is one of the very few birds seen in the neighborhood). But the fact is their supper for two proved so lovely that censors had to cut the cartoon a few minutes short when Snoopy and Woodstock started madly making out.
Thanksgiving Can Be a Time for Regret
The holidays can be an exciting, entertaining, memorable time. But because the expectations for such are raised so high, it’s only natural that there will be dips of disappointment and sinkholes of regret. And so it is with Charlie Brown, as he departs the Thanksgiving ping-pong table like an angel spat out of heaven, plummeting from the despair of not providing a holiday repast up to the lofty standards of Peppermint Patty and the guests she invited herself (including Marcie, Franklin, and some screaming vagrants and recent parolees she met on the way to the Brown residence). Eventually all is forgiven and Charlie Brown returns to the meal, smiling on the outside as he realizes capitulating to circumstances is the closest he will ever know true peace.
In a Pinch an Entire Thanksgiving Feast Can Be Prepared by a Dog and a Bird
If you wake up Thanksgiving morning only to realize you suddenly have an entire feast to prepare but neither the ingredients nor the know-how to pull it off, simply open up your pantry door, point your dog and some random bird you got to fly in through your kitchen window at the food, and say, “I’ll be back in four hours to check on your progress.” Then return later, look at the colossal mess that occurs when you leave food preparation to a pet with no thumbs and a feral creature who keeps shattering glassware in a full-panicked attempt to fly out of your house, and in your desperation and delusion convince yourself everything is going to be all right as you alternate between convulsive sobs and high-pitched, hysterical laughter.
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