My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.
It’s one of very few holidays that isn’t associated with a specific weather pattern: Independence Day is hot and humid, Valentine’s Day is bitterly frigid, and Easter is warm and sunny. On the last Thursday of November, however, the ground could be covered in snow or littered with leaves—oftentimes a mix of both.
Thanksgiving is a day dedicated entirely to gathering with loved ones and eating a meal.
Unsurprisingly, most Americans disagree. 46% of the population favors Christmas to every other holiday marked on the calendar. Don’t get me wrong—Christmas is always a fun, festive celebration. But aside from catchy songs, peppermint candy canes, and a large white-haired man, Thanksgiving and Christmas are extremely similar. Each involves food, family, and festivity. So what is it that makes Christmas the superior holiday?
In today’s materialistic world, the amazing day that is December 25th has turned from a holy celebration to a day of giving gifts.
From a young age, the excitement of Christmas is instilled into children’s hearts. Christmas becomes a time for them to celebrate, and being so young, they look forward to the gifts that come along with the festivities. We condition kids to appreciate Christmas, not for the spirit of generosity or celebration of religion, but for something as rapacious as presents.
But this Christmas spirit seems to diminish as children grow up. Most adults like Christmas, but they don’t feel the same excitement that children do. Is this because the number of presents that are received is often smaller than the number given? Or is it because the stress of giving enough presents is forced upon gift-givers?
This year for Christmas, my mother is letting my siblings and me choose an organization to donate to in our name instead of receiving mostly meaningless gifts that we will use only a couple of times.
But first comes Thanksgiving. The best day of the year, only made better with mashed potatoes.
I believe in the spirit of Thanksgiving. As a holiday that supports a positive, grateful attitude, it is one that goes severely underrated, overlooked by many as the sight of Christmas peeks over the horizon. Perhaps the reason why our nation is becoming so heartless is because we are forgetting the things that are most important in our lives.
In the end, presents don’t matter. What really matters is people. Thanksgiving celebrates the prosperity of people through sharing a meal, and the truth is that Thanksgiving deserves all of the enthusiasm that Christmas gets—and more.