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5 Things I miss about Thanksgiving in the 90s

I've been reflecting a lot lately on my own childhood; both for this blog and the impending arrival of my own first child wondering what memories she'll have.  At the risk of sounding like a Buzzfeed clickbait listicle, I've decided to do a Top 5 list of things I miss about Thanksgiving from the 1990's.  I was born in 1984, a bit too late to have clear memories of the 80's but I definitely remember the holidays of the 1990's.

So, without further ado, here are my Top 5 Things I Miss About Thanksgiving's of the 90's:

5.  Days off school -  Where I work, we take people where they need to go for the holidays, so it's never guaranteed I'll be home to celebrate my own.  In the seniority-based system I work under, I've finally reached the point that I've been there long enough so that I can hold the days off I want, but holidays are tricky.  This year, I'm fortunate enough to have both Thanksgiving and Christmas off, but it's never a guarantee.  Knowing in advance that I would have off school on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for Thanksgiving as a kid (and once or twice, I remember a half-day Tuesday) was such a relief.  Like most school holidays I'd plan out my days down to the very minute weeks before.  Of course, they didn't usually go as I planned due to parents or relatives changing my schedule, but it was such a relief to sleep in and not have school.  These days I even get out of bed at 5am on my days off, so being a kid in the 90's, knowing that I didn't have anything other than video games or hockey practice, was something I cherish today.

4.  We didn't skip past it for Christmas -  These days, it seems like Halloween runs from August 1st to October 15th.  On the 16th, Christmas starts and runs to December 25th, and by noon on Christmas, TV stations return to regular programming, and it's almost like Christmas never existed.  Back in the 90's, Halloween ran from October 1st to November 1st.  Then, there was a little low period, and by mid-November, everyone geared up for Thanksgiving.  Then, the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) was full on Christmas!  I remember back in the 90s when the first radio station here in New York began playing Christmas music before Thanksgiving, and what a travesty we all thought that was.  This year (2019), Sirius XM started their dedicated Christmas Music channels back in October!  Heck, The Hallmark Channel (often the only channel on in my house these days) began their non-stop Christmas movie marathon ON TWO CHANNELS on October 25th!  My local Home Depot even dumped the Halloween decorations for Christmas on October 10th!

3.  TV Specials - Now I'll admit, I don't watch much television anymore.  Back in "the day" though, I watched A LOT of television, both alone and with family.  Some of the most memorable episodes were the holiday specials.

You can check out my Saved By The Bell:  The College Years Thanksgiving Special review here!

Every show had a Turkey Day special back then, from cartoons to sitcoms.  Even the hour-long dramas my parents would watch featured a Thanksgiving episode.  I was never a fan of the show, but who among us who lived through the 90s could forget the 'Friends' episode where Joey got a turkey stuck on his head?

2.  Playing Outside - Thanksgiving meant that my Uncle was in town.  He was my Dad's younger brother, and he was always involved with my brother and I growing up.  We'd all bundle up on Thanksgiving morning and head outside to toss the football or a baseball back in forth in the street.  We'd play street hockey, too, hoping it snowed so we could slip and slide and pretend to be on skates.  It was good for us to get out of the house in the fresh air while Mom and Granny cooked and set the table.  It also helped me avoid having to listen to all of the adult conversations and awkward conversations adults tried to have with me.  Towards the end of the 90's, when I was playing Varsity ice hockey (and later college hockey), we'd often go for 4 or 5-mile jogs the morning of Thanksgiving so we could stuff ourselves silly later on in the day.  Today, it would probably take me all day to complete 4 or 5 miles (plus an extended hospital visit afterward), but back then, it was a quick 45 minutes or an hour of exercise, and then we'd ravenously attack the Thanksgiving feast!

1.  The Kids Table - I know television always portrays the Kids Table as something to look forward to graduating away from, but, I loved the Kids Table.  My previously mentioned Uncle and my Brother would sit in the kitchen at our own table while all of the other adults would sit in the dining room.  They'd all be crammed in 10 to 12 people around the table and the 3 of us had room to stretch.  There wouldn't be awkward conversations or the usual small talk chit-chat.  At the Adult's Table, it seemed like the adults just made a boring conversation about the weather or the food.  Over at the Kids Table, though, anything went.  We'd just have jokes and laughs about sports, tv, girls, movies... whatever.  Being out in the kitchen we could eavesdrop on the adults, make jokes, and drift from the table to the TV and back without the adults telling us to sit still.


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