But Thanksgiving has its upsides: leftovers! And an automatic four day weekend as Thanksgiving cannot be moved to Monday.
Even though I don’t like Thanksgiving, I am a fan of holidays in general and I wish there were way more of them. They provide good practice for not working, particularly for Americans who are chronically overworked. When a society has only a few holidays, each holiday has to multi-task: get the family together, eat well, have fun, get some rest, and get caught up on all kinds of tasks that we don’t have time to do during the normal work week. It is no wonder that few holidays are really fun—they are layered with a to-do list that makes going back to work something to look forward to.
In the Middle Ages, people had about eight weeks worth of holidays in addition to Sunday. Peasant life was hard and life in general was short, (the average lifespan was 30 years), but pleasure was a value for all classes of people. In fact, Christmas, which we have narrowed down to one day, was 12 days long.
A commons society has a lot of holidays, far more than the eleven Federal holidays we observe in the USA, (many of which are not given to people who work in the private sector.) We have built into our Constitution the basis for a commons society: “the right to….the pursuit of happiness.” If we made happiness our highest value, how would we structure our society? Perhaps sometime over this weekend, between turkey and pie, phone calls to distant friends and watching the Macy’s Day parade, we should think about that.