Watching football on Thanksgiving has become a sort of modern holiday tradition. But, if you want to spend the day around the TV, I’d like to propose a newer tradition.
About two years ago, in November of 2014, my wife and I went to the movie theater to see Paddington. We were less than underwhelmed by the trailer but thought we’d give the movie a chance anyway. What a great decision. Over the course of 90 minutes we were won over by the sweet, polite, and somewhat clumsy bear who travels to London and finds a new home with the Brown family. Directed by Paul King, best known for the cult British TV series The Mighty Boosh, Paddington is smart and stylish and multilayered in a way that most family movies (not produced by Pixar) don’t bother to be.
Paddington Bear is essentially a refugee. He’s a kid who has lost his family and his home and he just needs someone to look after him. The Browns aren’t planning to take in a new family member but they see a bear in need and they do the right thing. In our film screening, toward the end of the movie when Paddington is climbing a chimney to escape from a villainous taxidermist, the entire audience was on the edge of our seats. An audible gasp filled the theater when Paddington lost his grip and threatened to fall to his death. We had entered into the theater expecting a dumb kids movie and suddenly we were in love with a computer generated bear, hoping that he’d escape death and live happily ever after with his new family. It was kind of magical.
So this Thanksgiving, after filling up on turkey, why not skip the football game and give the little bear from “Darkest Peru” a chance. You and your family might learn a lesson about kindness, generosity, and being welcoming to those different from you. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?