Growing up, Thanksgiving had more credit as a holiday. “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” would always play around mid-November and commercials featuring Santa Claus eyeing a pan of green bean casserole waited their turn. Clothing stores didn’t play “Silver Bells” the day after Halloween and homes didn’t have lighted icicles hanging from the gutters.
By the time I was in junior high, Christmas started the next to last week of October. I would walk down the aisles of Walmart or Target with my parents looking at already half-priced Halloween candy and see inflatable snowmen being blown up amidst a small field of plastic trees back in the home and garden department.
When I got to college, the image didn’t change. On Halloween, students dressed up like it was Comic-Con and got together in dorm rooms to watch scary movies. The next day, Starbucks flooded themselves with chalkboards and cutouts featuring gingerbread and peppermint mocha lattes. The hedges around Torreyson became webbed with Christmas lights, as well as the amphitheater.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my generation has no respect for Thanksgiving as a holiday. It doesn’t exist to us. Christmas is now a two-month long ordeal and people wonder why they’re so sick of it by the time it ends. I think we can all agree that the Hershey’s Kisses commercial where they ring “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” gets a little old after the first 100 times it plays during late November.
I’ve heard a lot of students defend their decision to celebrate Christmas an extra month by saying that Thanksgiving represents “the man” taking away land from Native Americans.
“Thanksgiving isn’t a real holiday,” they say. And yes, some people actually believe that. “We ate with them and then we kicked them out of their homes without any regrets whatsoever,” is another statement they make. But let’s all forget that historically speaking, Christmas refers to the winter solstice, signaling the end of the harshest days of winter. The celebration of Christmas as Jesus’ birth wasn’t even established until the fourth century when Pope Julius I chose the date it is now, presumably to leech off the attention of already establish pagan celebrations during that time. But that’s another story.
If you’re going to base your opinion of a holiday on the historical context of its origin, do so for all holidays — not just the ones where you don’t get presents. Not to mention the 30 percent of which you’ll probably end up returning for something you actually wanted in the first place.
I do not condone how Native Americans were treated back when settlers were moving to America, but Thanksgiving has since evolved into a holiday that represents a very good moral — being thankful.
I know you’ve been told this your entire life, but a lot of people truly don’t have what you have, even if you don’t think it’s very much by today’s standards.
I also know there isn’t much decorating you can do for it either. But it’s not about the decorations. It’s about the feeling you get when you sit down with family and enjoy a good meal and conversation. It’s about your grandmother’s pumpkin pie, or how Dad always yells at the television during the Lions game. These are things that you’ll grow up remembering fondly, perhaps even to the point where your future children think likewise.
These are things you can’t take back to the store.