Happy Birthday, Overlooked Middle Child: An Ode to Thanksgiving

Posted: November 26, 2014 in Thanksgiving
Tags: , , , , , ,

As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I will be writing today about my love for Thanksgiving. What might be slightly less clear is the connection between Thanksgiving and middle children. No worries, though, my faithful reader(s?): in due time, I will explain to you the method behind my madness.

First, let’s lay down the foundation of Thanksgiving, in all its festive holiday glory. In its truest form, Thanksgiving is a time for, well, giving thanks. Pretty obvious, right? Of course, the art of gratitude often gets lost in all the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, pies, and even that one traditional dish you always feel obligated to eat, because it just might be good this year. Sure, maybe we should spend more time actually giving thanks on Thanksgiving, but really, if you have to lose the meaning of a holiday in something, you might as well lose that meaning in food.


What’s not to like about a holiday during which the main celebration involves eating a bunch of delicious food? Nothing, I tell you. NOTHING. If you hate Thanksgiving, you are most likely a monster. Or maybe a vegetarian.

And yet… Thanksgiving, like a middle child, is often overlooked.

Think about it. The Halloween decorations usually go up sometime in September, right? Maybe even earlier in some places. There’s all this build-up, and everyone talks about what Halloween costume they might or might not be wearing that year. Then Halloween passes in a blaze of jack-o-lanterns and candy corn. The decorations are taken down within the next few days, and there might be a short period of awkward transition when there’s just a bunch of boxes lying around the stores, and there is nothing but emptiness where the spirit of Halloween used to be.

But before you know it, the skeletons are replaced by Santa Clauses, the pumpkins by Christmas trees. Suddenly, it looks like Christmas has thrown up everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas, and it is–for now–my favorite holiday. But why is it that we skip directly from Halloween to Christmas? Why are our ears bombarded with Christmas music before we can even properly celebrate Thanksgiving?

Here’s why: It’s because Thanksgiving is nestled in between two much showier holidays. And here is where the middle child metaphor comes in.

Halloween and Christmas are like the bookends of the family: the youngest and oldest child, respectively. When the Christmas decorations take over right after October 31st, Halloween, in all its flaunting youthfulness, has had its moment in the sun, and now it’s time for Christmas to get even more attention without even trying, maybe without even wanting it. Meanwhile, Thanksgiving just sits back and watches these events unfold, forever resigned to its position as the overlooked middle child.

overlooked middle child meme

So please, I beg of you, give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves. I have seen the damage that is done to a neglected middle child, and believe me, the results are not pretty. My brother, one of two middle children, has actually taken to eating his own arm. And there’s nothing we can do about it. Please don’t ruin Thanksgiving by paying too much attention to its more attention-grabbing siblings.


  1. maddynflynn says:

    I have never thought about Thanksgiving this way before, but you have a pretty good analogy! It does get lost between Halloween and Christmas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s