Welp, Halloween has come and gone, November is in full swing, and December Snow-Merriment-Red-and-Green-OMG-it’s-Christmas-Time-FALALALALALALALALA is right around the corner. As per usual, the holiday cheer has been thrown up a few days before the Halloween décor could be torn down. And, like clockwork, the holiday “too soon” complaining has begun. Along with anticipating the early release of Christmas, I have now come to anticipate the early release of holiday resentment. The staunch defense in letting Thanksgiving have its glory, the baffling annoyed posts and tweets as if this was the year that Christmas started too soon.
Sample posts (copied and pasted from the internet):
“Another Halloween come and gone. Now, according to the TV and radio, the next major holiday is Christmas! No, there’s definitely not another major holiday before then.”
“I just heard a Christmas song at Macy’s. It’s too soon!”
“Dear Radio Stations,
IT HASN’T EVEN BEEN THANKSGIVING. TURN OFF FROSTY THE SNOWMAN.
And I have to wonder, was there ever this time that Christmas didn’t start too soon? Was there ever a time that we took a month between Halloween and Christmas to decorate our homes with dead leaves and turkey stickers?
Because… we didn’t. That memory is false, you guys. Perhaps dead leaves and cornucopias were purchased, but I assure you they were probably right on the same shelf as wreaths and tree toppers.
This childhood memory of yours is a lie.
And if you ask me, I think we are doing Thanksgiving wrong. In fact I think we’ve been doing the whole month of November wrong all together. We’ve decided to make Gobble Gobble day an adversary to the hype of the December napalm of holidays. We’ve made eye rolls as much of a tradition as carols. I get it, Black Friday lines are long. The perfect toy for your child is too expensive. And yes, Christmas always comes too early. But does that mean we have to pedestalize Thanksgiving in order to take Christmas down a peg? As if Thanksgiving has an ounce of a chance to be equals to the Xmas-Mega-bot?
Now, Halloween might be able to stand up to Christmas for it’s own level of national influence and holiday importance because it has enough components to make it a fair fight. But Thanksgiving? Guys, I hate to break it to you, but on the whole Thanksgiving is pretty weaksauce. And we are going about it all wrong. Because:
Thanksgiving Can’t Stand Alone.
It just can’t. Now I love Thanksgiving. I know most people who know me well know of my great passion for Christmas, so they may not believe me when I say I love Thanksgiving, but I really really do. I have always liked Thanksgiving, from the days when my mom let me make name cards for the table to last year when my boyfriend and I hosted our own dinner like real life adults. The day itself is rigged with traditions and nostalgia and eating, so really what is not to love? But just because we love something, doesn’t mean it comes with a high level of importance. We would be lying if we thought that on it’s own Thanksgiving would be as popular if it were say in the month of January or September. Sure, maybe we’d feast, but no one would care or plan or execute Thanksgiving in such a thorough fashion if it weren’t for the fact that:
Thanksgiving Is Undeniably Tied To The End Of The Year Holiday Season.
Ah, there’s the rub. And I get why this is painstaking to read. Some people hate Christmas and want nothing more than to separate themselves from it for as long as humanly possible. Lots of people don’t celebrate Christmas due to religious or “I don’t give a fuck” purposes. Some people think of the holidays as a nuisance, an over-hyped time of year that just puts pressure on all of us to spend money and be around people we don’t like. I’m hip to your jig, haters. And maybe in turn this means you like Thanksgiving for it’s pure antithesis nature toward Christmas. Christmas is a time you do a bunch of shit for others, whereas Thanksgiving you shove your face full of food and sit on your ass all day. But maybe that exact opposite all haters love is what can make the holiday season remotely bearable for them. What I’m saying is the far better way to give Thanksgiving its due credit is if we accepted it as part of the holiday season (maybe be the one part you like?) than simply looking at it as the thing that separates us from now and the holiday season. I heard it said best from a co-worker:
“Thanksgiving is Christmas’s Opening Day.”
Yesssssss. Think about it. What better way to get ready for the chaos of Black Friday, the awkwardness of the Office Party, the stress of Christmas Eve plans, and the start of a New Years Resolution than to take a day to give thanks and eat about a gallon of gravy? Thanksgiving is like a farewell to dead leaves and hello to Mall Santas. It gives you a break before the “break” and is thus essential in the whole holiday process. If it weren’t for Thanksgiving, how else would we successfully execute December? Where do you go if you have two families to see around the holidays? Thanksgiving at one place, Christmas at another. Where do you get gift ideas for Grandma? When you notice her potato masher is busted when she arrives with lumpy potatoes on that last Thursday of November. When should you buy the new Kelly Clarskon Christmas Album? Thanksgiving gives you a month to enjoy it before you put it away for next year. Just like Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starts with a Turkey float and ends on Santa; Thanksgiving itself is the true and best kicker-offer of the holiday season. Do you know how important that makes Thanksgiving now? Much more than just a day that is loosely based on Pilgrims and Natives harvesting something one time. (Also, pretty sure the origin is racist, see below.)
Thanksgiving Lacks Shwag.
Further proof that Thanksgiving is better served as a spear header than an lone wolf, it lacks a considerable amount of components compared to the nostalgia, history, and fables galore that comes with the likes of Christmas and even to a certain extent Halloween. (Think of it like if they made the Nightmare Before Thanksgiving instead of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Jack Skellington went through the Turkey door instead of the Tree door. NO ONE WOULD GO SEE THAT MOVIE. NO ONE.) Thanksgiving has no mascot, no décor, no stories of Walter the Thanksgiving Giraffe who gives good boys and girls wishbones and pie, no religious credo of “On the third day God made stuffing.” All Thanksgiving has is a day for banks to be closed, sales to begin and a convoluted story surrounding Plymouth Rock that has about as much historical accuracy as Disney’s Pocahontas. I admire the sentiment behind Thanksgiving in the manner of a moral tale for elementary school kiddos, (sharing maze is caring, you guys), but I am far from really celebrating the settlers coming to American and giving a bunch of Native Americans smallpox. There’s no Gobble the Turkey or Tale of 4th Grade Stuffing. And I’m not saying that there needs to be, but it is all the more reason that Thanksgiving is better off being part of the bigger picture. Thanksgiving doesn’t need any of that children’s book, trick or treat, songs covered over and over again pageant shit. The month of December pretty much covers all the lore that the holidays can handle. And sure Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday whereas Christmas is (…ish. Let’s not forget all the other Pagan celebrations that are eerily similar, almost like they were here first), but in all honesty lots of people (myself included) celebrate what I think of more as Xmas. No religion, more just a time to be sentimental with friends and family. A time for tidings of good cheer, if you will. And Thanksgiving is most definitely a day of good cheer.
Besides, Thanksgiving Is Too Awesome To Be Ignored.
Rest assured, Thanksgiving is not being overthrown by Christmas just because Starbucks starts serving coffee in red cups on November 3rd. I can guarantee you that there are many Christmas lovers (me) who also love looking forward to that beloved final Thursday of the November month. And once you are able to conclude that Thanksgiving is part of Team Christmas then you can stop taking offense to sparkly lights and green garland popping up in grocery stores near you. Instead, maybe look at it like there’s a little garland representing Thanksgiving too. I’ve never heard anyone say, “I love Christmas so much that I don’t give a crap about Thanksgiving.” I’m sure those people exist somewhere, but there’s not many of them. Really it’s more like “I love Christmas so much I think Thanksgiving is like Rudolph, leading the way to a great end of a year.” And that outlook makes November seem even more special than before. It’s the “start your engines” month, packed with football, cooling weather, and sales on cranberry sauce.
Thanksgiving Is Different For Everyone.
Just like Christmas and New Years and Halloween and others stuff, some people may still proudly proclaim that Thanksgiving needs to be viewed in a certain way for it to make sense. Some may think Thanksgiving deserves it’s own day in the sun because, by golly, Pilgrims are tits, man. Or maybe some folks think that Christmas is too commercial and we need to bring it back to the manger scene and if that’s the case Pilgrims and Jesus don’t go together. Some people may think that New Years doesn’t get much street cred either and that all holidays need a designated amount of time to be focused on. I guess with those options it’s more enjoyable to look at these slew of celebrations as one unified attempt to keep us happy after a long, long year. And if we just took a moment to see Thanksgiving as the morning bell for all these shenanigans then maybe we’d quit being so annoyed by green and red and start enjoying some god damn turkey.
– One L
“I won’t put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving, but I have started listening to my Pandora Christmas Station. Have you ever tried listening to Pandora’s Thanksgiving Station? Yikes.“