I would give thanks for another UK bank holiday for Thanksgiving
PUBLISHED: 00:01 23 November 2018 | UPDATED: 08:51 24 November 2018
Archant Norfolk © 2008
Halloween and Black Friday have travelled from across the pond so why don’t we get Thanksgiving and another much-needed Bank Holiday to break up the BH desert from August to Christmas?
It was Thanksgiving across the pond yesterday and, as I do most years, I felt somewhat cheated that it’s not a tradition which has crossed the Atlantic to gift us a day off work (yet we get Black Friday which last for absolutely weeks – how does that work?).
But then I thought about it for a while and realised that we can hardly expect to be given Thanksgiving and its associated benefits if so many of us are so terrible at saying “thank you” full stop: after all, no one gets pumpkin pie if they’ve got bad manners.
Research earlier this year revealed that people hardly ever say ‘thank you’ when other people help them out and that this situation increases the closer you are to the person who has done you a favour.
Everyday social exchanges were examined in eight different language on five separate continents and the overriding result was that we’re only saying ‘thank you’ once every 20 times someone passes us the salt. Apparently, this doesn’t highlight a fast slide into rudeness (although as far as I’m concerned, it absolutely does – if I pass you the salt when you ask, you’d better thank me).
It is, instead, “an example of a basic standard or reciprocity”, meaning that people expect that the person they are asking to pass the salt will do it without any need to be thanked, and so the salt-receiver doesn’t thank them.
I imagine the same reason stands for why no one says thank you to the person who buys the toilet roll, or who remembers birthdays, or puts out the bins on bin day, or who knows where the sticky tape is, or who bought light bulbs, or who makes dinner, or (* that’s quite enough self-pitying whinging, ed).
The researchers also found that during normal conversations, people make requests of others approximately every 1.5 minutes on average – this explains why I feel like people ask me to do things all the time, it’s because they actually do.
But back to my original point, which is that Britain should adopt Thanksgiving as a matter of urgency, having first addressed the lack of everyday thanksgiving which makes us salt-passers feel taken-for-granted, put-upon and generally a bit hard-done-by.
We’ve been desperate for an extra bank holiday for what feels like ever, particularly in the fallow period between August Bank Holiday and Christmas Eve after the purple patch in the summer – and this is a bank holiday without any strings, other than a(nother) turkey for those that eat food with faces and some stuff that sounds desperately exotic, like corn bread, pecan pie and yams with marshmallows, which sounds amazing (but absolutely isn’t: just take a moment to consider whether or not turkey gravy and marshmallows should EVER be eaten together).
There are no presents, no decorating the house, no endless lists, basically, it’s a roast dinner, a round of thanks and job’s a good ‘un.
Even better, falling so close to Christmas as it does, you could effectively solve the age-old issue of whose parents you see on December 25 by seeing one set in November and the other a month later – and it’s another day that celebrates the concept of eating so much that we can’t move, which is always something to celebrate and sign up for.
There are no ridiculously high expectations that you should have unbridled fun for weeks on end and children won’t be hyped into a frenzy of materialistic fervour that results in tantrums, meltdowns and a general feeling that National Service should be reintroduced for anyone between the ages of one and 18.
What there is, of course, is an assumption that at some point you will offer up some thanks – traditionally for the big stuff like health, happiness, family and security, but also for the smaller stuff, like to the people who open doors for you or let you out in front of them at a junction. And I am ALL FOR THAT.
(Just not the yams and marshmallows though, OK? Thanks).
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