Thanksgiving Overlooked


Anna Hulstedt, Features Editor

      I love Christmas. The holiday itself is a great time, but what intrigues me the most is the entire holiday season throughout the whole month of December. Annually, I look forward to the Christmas music, holiday shopping, decorations everywhere, and the general cheerfulness of community during the season. It’s especially exciting to get some fresh white snow just in time for Christmas. For some reason, it seems that everyone shows a little more joy and compassion during the holiday season. I’ve even downloaded a Christmas countdown app on my phone to fulfill my pre-holiday excitement.

      But one the most important holidays on the calendar seems to drown in all of the early Christmas campaigns and preparations. Thanksgiving is often overlooked, and is slowly dissolving away, being eaten up by Christmas. Currently, even though it is early November, stores and restaurants already have Christmas decorations and holiday items for purchase.

      The other night I was shopping at Dick’s Sporting Goods and several displays were already labeled as “Stocking Stuffers”, which I am, indeed, guilty of purchasing some new warm cabin socks adorned with snowman and snowflakes. We’ve donated to the Salvation Army Bell Ringers already, and we have bought the Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes to put in our lunches (not complaining- they’re one of my favorites). I’ve also noticed some Christmas-related television ads on too, and I can’t say I watch too much TV. Although it happens every year, I noticed several aisles with Christmas ornaments and decorations set up in August at Hobby Lobby. It’s truly difficult to wait until after Thanksgiving for Christmas when media, shopping centers, and even Starbucks are already in complete Christmas mode.

      Even Thanksgiving Day itself is infested with Christmas. Before leaving for Thanksgiving lunch, our family typically has the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. Although I don’t really pay much attention, it’s interesting to watch. However, Santa always appears at the end, and several other groups and bands in the famous New York attraction march dressed in red, green, and white. The parade seems to be a Christmas kick-off rather than a Thanksgiving celebration. Even at Thanksgiving dinner, conversations revolve around our Christmas excitement and plans for the holiday season.

      The biggest holiday shopping day of the year, Black Friday, also creeps its way into Thanksgiving Day. Several years ago, stores with Black Friday sales would open their doors early at four or five a.m. on the Friday following Thanksgiving. However, I’ve noticed in recent years that some Black “Friday” sales start around five or six p.m. on Thanksgiving night. So, could Thanksgiving be entitled “Black Friday Eve” now? Those wanting to take advantage of the Black Friday deals on Thursday night now have to sacrifice part of their time with family at Thanksgiving dinner to wait in long stressful lines to get some early shopping out of the way.

      My family doesn’t shop on Black Friday, since we prefer to avoid the chaos of the famous nation-wide shopping fiasco. Instead, we decorate for Christmas. Over the years, we’ve accumulated so many Christmas decorations and finished the basement, so the process has taken even more time, so decorating day usually begins on Thanksgiving morning before we leave to have lunch with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

      Skipping straight to Christmas immediately following Halloween is common in our culture. Christmas itself has become more of a money and material item event than a low-key family time holiday. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but Thanksgiving is a very close second. For instance, in my family, Thanksgiving is filled with conversations, multiple intense games of spoons with the cousins, and delicious homemade food that only comes once a year. Especially as I have gotten older, I always look forward to spend time with my relatives that I don’t see too often during the school year. Thanksgiving always brings me closer with my cousins, and I’m excited to see what this year’s gathering will bring. I enjoy the laid-back afternoon, and enjoy the fact that we don’t have deal with any of the stresses of gifts.

      Although the gift-giving and receiving tradition is fun, it causes a lot of stress and many people like to start it early, particularly before Thanksgiving. Last weekend, my grandparents were already asking for a Christmas list, something I haven’t given much thought to. This tradition, therefore, causes Thanksgiving to be overlooked, as society regards the holidays before and after Thanksgiving as more important than Thanksgiving.

      “I think that Thanksgiving is overlooked because Christmas is so universal,” said Caitlin Corso (‘20).

      While Christmas is celebrated all around the globe, Thanksgiving is a holiday that originated in America. Therefore, it isn’t as widespread in scale, making it less worthy of the popularity Christmas receives. However, it is important to recognize Thanksgiving, and it’s even more important to give thanks on the daily.

      Kayla Hesano (‘21) said, “I value Thanksgiving the day of, but I also try to be thankful every day of the year.”

      Our society’s view of Christmas as a month-long celebration makes it more exciting to look forward to than the one-day Thanksgiving celebration. When music is already playing and decorations are already set up, Thanksgiving only seems like a small stepping stone on the way to Christmas.

      “I don’t think that Thanksgiving is overlooked, I just think that Christmas is easier to celebrate. The music is exciting, and there are more Christmas opportunities to look forward to than Thanksgiving,” said Sydnie Elder (‘21).

      When Christmas is given its own music, decorations, movies, and special events, it’s hard to refrain from celebrating early. Many teenagers get anxious to listen to Christmas music early, even as early as September or October. The girls cross country team even listened to some Christmas tunes after bringing home a state championship trophy last weekend.

      “I’m very thankful for Christmas music!” said Madison Diercks (‘20).

      I truly believe that holiday season is “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, but I also believe it’s important to give Thanksgiving some love first. If it weren’t for family and friends, Thanksgiving and Christmas would not be as much fun to celebrate. So before we let it snow and deck the halls, it’s important to remember to be grateful for the blessings in our lives that make the holidays worth celebrating.