Jason Davis: Thanksgiving’s about the little things

Dec. 02, 2013 @ 09:34 AM

Taking a break from work Friday to recover from Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast, my family and I decided to brave the wilds of Dollywood to take in a few Christmas shows and build on the growing anticipation my 4-year-old has for Dec. 25.

I had expected — because of the sheer volume of people that would be shopping on “Black Friday” — that Dollywood’s crowds would be thin, and we’d be able to stroll leisurely through the park, riding a few rides and enjoying some shows as we went.

I was wrong.

Apparently Dollywood is among the places to be in Sevier County the day after Thanksgiving.

I’d never seen the place so packed. Of course, to be fair, I usually try to avoid the busy times. It was wall to wall people, which is great for Dollywood, but bad for a guy like me. I tend to get a little testy in crowds, especially when there is leftover turkey in the fridge and football on the television.

Dollywood’s staff was wonderful, however. There were smiles all around, and despite the fact that they were working, most exuded the spirit of the season.

We managed to make it into a few shows.

My son was pleased with both “Dollywood’s The Christmas Carol” and the “Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

I’ll say both shows were impressive, although explaining holograms to Rogan became quite an exhaustive experience.

How do you explain the interference of light beams from a laser or other coherent light source forming a three-dimensional image to someone that hasn’t even been to Kindergarten?

I settled on, “It’s not real,” which technically isn’t accurate. But he seemed satisfied.

After leaving the park, we went on to Knoxville, where we finished off a day of entertainment at the discount movie theater for a showing of “Despicable Me 2.”

It’s been in theaters for nearly half a year now, but we were just getting around to it. Rogan’s wanted to watch it for a while, but we only decided recently that he was ready to sit through a movie theater showing, and this was just his second trip to a theater.

We enjoyed the movie, especially the parts that made the little guy laugh out loud. There is no sweeter sound to a parent’s ears, by the way.

But maybe the best part of the night came later, and it was absolutely free.

After settling in back at home, I got the question exhausted parents — myself included — often dread. “Daddy, will you play with me?”

Looking into those eyes and seeing my son’s sincerity, I was able to drag myself off the couch and down the hall to his room, where a traffic jam of Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars awaited.

Though we only played for a few minutes because of the late hour, it may have been the most rewarding part of may day.

I don’t know if it’s because of the later age at which we became first-time parents, or the many bad things I see because of the industry I work in, but it’s become simple to appreciate those little things.

And it’s those little things that Thanksgiving is all about.

It’s not about the day off from work, which many people don’t even have anymore.

It’s not about the weekend-long slate of televised football, though I do enjoy that.

It’s also not about wonderfully easy carry-out Thanksgiving meal from Cracker Barrel, which means zero hours spent in the kitchen cooking and cleaning messy pots and pans.

Thanksgiving is about family; it’s about friends; conversations and games around the dinner table. It’s about traditions held throughout generations.

It’s about the little things and being thankful to our Creator for making those moments possible.