I love holidays. Anytime around a holiday is filled with fun, excitement and a general feeling of something special happening. Dreary school days pass by a little better knowing there’s a holiday coming up, and everything around you is decorated and cheery and interesting, taking a much-needed break from dull, boring surroundings. Two holidays that fit this description the most, in my opinion, are Halloween and Christmas. And so, like every year, the tug between the line that separates them grows in fervor.
While Halloween and Christmas are at the top of my “Most Festive” Holiday list, Thanksgiving is certainly not. For starters, the aesthetic appeal of Thanksgiving is already very low. Halloween is spooky, scary; decorating for it leaves lots of room for creativity and imagination. Christmas is bright, sparkly, warm and sweet. Red, green, gold, white, blue, and even pink are all options for colors, and lights are everywhere. Thanksgiving in origin is already plain. Pilgrims, who were puritans, wore dull colors and didn’t even allow dancing. Fall colors, mostly muted and a mixture of browns, reds and yellows, can only go so far. The truth is, Thanksgiving’s main appeal is food.
Which brings us to the second issue. The traditional “Thanksgiving meal” is mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, etc., and most importantly: Turkey. One of the driest, worst meats possible. Even if done right, a turkey will never compare to the deliciousness of filet mignon or pork or even roasted chicken. In fact, many people will omit turkey and substitute it for their preferred choice of meat. So already, Thanksgiving’s “distinctive” aspects have been dwindled down to gratitude, dull colors, and some side dishes.
As we know, Thanksgiving is about giving “Thanks” and being grateful. Family and friends come together, and celebrate what they have together. Christmas is about giving, cherishing, and having “Christmas spirit.” Family and friends come together, and celebrate what they have together. Yes, I’m saying they’re about the same thing. Maybe not exactly the same thing, but very very similar. Of course, there are also religious connotations with Christmas, but as cultures have combined in the mixing pot of America, that’s changing. I don’t associate strongly with my religion, Catholicism, but I still celebrate because the meaning of Christmas goes beyond that. Christmas is no longer only a holiday for Christians.
So at this point, what is left of Thanksgiving? Heritage? History? Sure, a small moment where European colonizers worked together with American Indians/Native Americans (only after they were starving and had no other choice), which in the grand scheme of things paled in the face of the millions of Native Americans who were killed, died of European disease, or were forcibly removed off their land.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t get that sweet, one-week break off of school, or that you shouldn’t take another day to eat amazing food with family and friends, but why all the anger over people decorating or celebrating Christmas early? I start planning for Christmas Nov. 1, and I decorate whenever I’m ready to.
Obviously, there are people who really love Thanksgiving, and that’s fine! I don’t understand it, but of course we’re all different. My issue is with people revering it as this holiday that needs to be preserved and untouched by any other holiday around it.
Let people be excited for things they want to be excited about. If you’re so happy and grateful, let others do the same.