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COMMENTARY: When Thanksgiving and Christmas collide

These days, we’re all used to walking through retail stores in October and dodging Christmas displays of inflatable Baby Yoda yard art while we’re still trying to find the perfect Halloween pumpkins to decompose on our front porches.

The real holiday season mashup controversy, though, emerges in November, when we try to determine when it’s appropriate to start slipping our disks by dragging out the Christmas décor and festooning the living room with enough sparkly baubles to trigger our glitter jitters. Do we wait until we finish digesting our Thanksgiving giblets or move on into full-blown Yuletide beast mode?

I say go ahead and get jiggy with your tree trimming. Because let’s face it. Thanksgiving, while a worthy exercise in expressing gratitude for our blessings by replacing all of our bodily fluids with gravy, is a little like a pregame warmup for Christmas. In fact, you’re likely to have some Thanksgiving leftovers mutating in your refrigerator when Dec. 25 rolls around.

So why not combine the celebrations into a giant, two-month, carb-laden extravaganza? Besides, the two holidays already have a lot in common.

For instance, both involve eating until you doubt your self-worth and your digestive skills.

Not only that, but we enjoy some of the same foods at Thanksgiving and Christmas — including that cranberry sauce that comes out of the can looking like a sunburned segment of a giant earthworm.

Both holidays also involve experiencing an entire year’s allotment of family irritation within the space of around 12 hours. No wonder grandmother lives over the river and through the woods.

And that particular song reminds me that both holidays have classic Charlie Brown specials — the best! (I still think Snoopy deserves a good old-fashioned neutering.)

Most importantly, these celebrations give us a chance to thank the Lord for the greatest gift ever given to humanity. And I really don’t think he gives a rip that Starbucks starts selling the Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino the first week of November.

I realize this philosophy will draw the ire of Thanksgiving purists who relegate Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, the Grinch, Scrooge, Ralphie in his pink bunny pajamas, Buddy the Elf and Cousin Eddie in his bath robe to holiday quarantine until the clock strikes midnight after Turkey Day. (Ironically, these are probably the same folks who keep a forgotten string of elderly Christmas lights clinging to their houses for dear life year round.)

I’ve always loved both holidays and never could resist humming a few Christmas carols while unpacking our ceramic turkey salt and pepper shakers in early November. I’ve even been known to start putting out Christmas decorations, a few at a time, in the run-up to Thanksgiving, and no one seems to be bothered by it. (Then again, I’m pretty sure I could install a life-sized replica of Cousin Eddie’s dilapidated RV in the middle of the living room, and my three teenage daughters wouldn’t notice — unless it interfered with the Wi-Fi.)

Yes, I agree that Thanksgiving is an important occasion and deserving of its own traditions (especially the pie), but I also believe in bipartisanship, and if Santa wants a seat at my Thanksgiving table, he is always welcome to an extra slice of canned cranberry sauce.

Jase Graves is an award-winning humor columnist from East Texas. Contact him at susanjase@sbcglobal.net.

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