We Must Stop Overlooking Thanksgiving

Nadia Suben, Op-Ed Page Director

It is impossible to prepare oneself for the inevitable festive whiplash that one experiences on November 1st of every year. Overnight, pumpkins are traded for evergreens, skeletons for nutcrackers. Mariah Carey’s rejection of traditional Christmas gifts in favor of romance begins to rise on the charts. Nearly two months still remain until Christmas, yet stores begin to dedicate entire aisles to Santa hats and sleigh bells. 

The holiday season is unfailingly cheerful. But it doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving. 

It’s understandable why some decide that the ramp up to Christmas begins immediately following Halloween. Thanksgiving’s marketing certainly leaves something to be desired. There are no Thanksgiving songs, and Thanksgiving-themed decorations can be off-putting, considering that most focus on the fowl we delight in consuming on the holiday.

Perhaps the biggest reason Thanksgiving is sometimes overlooked in favor of the late-December holidays, however, is because of the very time it takes place. The end of November sits on the crux between fall and winter. The weather can be crisp and autumnal, or cold and wintry. Dead leaves line the ground, leaving trees mostly bare, yet the few leaves that cling onto the tree branches spur some hope that autumn hasn’t entirely departed yet. The ambiguity of this time of year alone is enough to make Thanksgiving a less memorable holiday than, say, Christmas. 

But Thanksgiving serves as an excellent buffer between the spookiness of October and the jolliness of December. More importantly, Thanksgiving is an undeniably meritorious holiday undeserving of the neglectful treatment it is sometimes wont to receive in favor of Christmas. 

“…The holiday season starts after Thanksgiving,” declares Petra Smith (’23). “I suppose that Thanksgiving is a kind of bridge between Halloween and Christmas, but I don’t really think of it that way. For me it is its own separate and real holiday…[so] it does annoy me…when I see Christmas decorations in November.”

The tendency to try to rush through the month of November to get to the holiday season, while understandable, is regrettable. 

“Stores stocking and promoting holiday goods… reminds you of the future holidays rather than the one that you are actually closing in on,” continues Smith. “When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas, they’re two major holidays but Thanksgiving in a lot of ways falls under the shadow of the anticipation of Christmas [because of] the promotion of Christmas in stores early and still in the Thanksgiving season.”

Expressing gratitude for even the simplest of life’s gifts is a practice we shouldn’t ever overlook. Particularly in a year that has been full of so many unique challenges, there is an added importance to taking a weekend to step back and consider and acknowledge the things that we have to be thankful for. 

Besides that, it is only through proper appreciation for Thanksgiving that we can resist the annual forced hastening of the coming of the holiday season. This is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly. Because let’s face it – there’s only so much tolerance a person can have for “All I Want for Christmas is You.”