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On the origin of Thankschris

 Posted: 2:00 AM September 24, 2012

Sometimes I'm totally amazed at how smart my 8-year-old son, Silas, is. Of course we definitely struggle through homework time like any other family, but that's probably more my own struggle than his. My sister has cut me off from being the "homework helper" because I guess she decided I wasn't quite up to par on my 5 times table. Personally, I don't see any problem with the fact that I have to use my fingers to figure out "5 times 7." So while Silas may crumple his homework out of frustration and has the bad luck to come from the finger-counting side of the family, he has flashes of brilliance that astound me.

The latest moment of brilliance was a new holiday which Silas created. One of the great things about Silas is that when he has a goal in mind he can be more patient than any other child I know. Sure, Silas can't wait more than four seconds at the grocery store for me to decide between a red and a green pepper, but he can stand quietly for 45 minutes in line at Disneyland and can plan his new holiday for months.

Silas named his new holiday "Thankschris," which I believe he meant to be a combination word of Thanksgiving and Christmas rather than a day he chose to give thanks to someone named Chris. Silas wrapped a present for everyone in the family and stored them for weeks in the spare bedroom. He continually reminded the rest of the family that while Thankschris isn't necessarily about presents, it is expected that everyone gets everyone else something, though it can be something you buy, make or find around the house.

As the date Silas picked for his holiday approached, he started telling us about the other components of his holiday, namely feasts. Thankschris involves a feast for all three meals of the day. My mom quickly saw the scary prospect of having to cook three separate turkeys in one day and quickly delegated out the meal responsibilities.

As we celebrated Thankschris together some new components of the holiday began to come together. As the celebration seemed to coincide with the end of the yard sale season, most of the gifts were from various yard sale "finds." There was also a trend towards re-gifting. This year I dropped the Thankschris ball and only managed to find a present for Silas, but next year I can imagine putting a little effort into my weekend yard saling and finding something for everyone else.

We hid the gifts all over the house and spent the morning hunting for them. Silas was so good at hiding his gifts that we had to play some "hot and cold" to find a couple. I ended up with a glass bowl, a nightlight shaped like a leaf and the pillow off of Silas' bed. Silas ended up with some gold doubloons (Sacagawea coins), a cactus, and a Lego set.

For our feast we ended up having a picnic in the grass (we had managed to get Silas to forget about the three separate feasts). We had sandwiches and a fruit salad prepared by Silas himself.

It was nice to have a holiday to celebrate separate from everyone else. The stores were all open, nothing was packed and crowded and we could pick a day that no one had to work. Also I didn't have to feel guilty about not working the holiday and missing out on the holiday pay, since I'm almost certain my employer doesn't recognize Thankschris.

Thanksgiving may celebrate the end of the harvest season, but Thankschris is evolving to be the celebration of the end of yard sale season. I can't wait to celebrate it again next year.

Zoe Abel is thankful for Silas, and the brilliance that he created in Thankschris. You can contact her at

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