Just face it; Thanksgiving is the ugly stepchild of holidays. After Halloween, the whole nation starts the countdown to Christmas. (The Countdown to the 25 Days of Christmas on ABC Family is a perfect example of this jump between holidays; it is a countdown to the countdown to Christmas!) What happened to that idea of family coming together and just pigging out? Thanksgiving is that time to stuff your stomachs with the best fall food ever. Some people begin dieting months before every Thanksgiving in preparation for the huge feast. Unfortunately, times have changed, filling the thankful holiday with “Christmas cheer.”
Retail stores are notorious for giving out the best deals around the holiday seasons. So much so that Thanksgiving is neglected for early Christmas shopping. That is right. With holiday brochures out the wazoo, retail stores no longer feel the need to wait until Black Friday for the true discounts. The real deals occur on Brown Thursday shortly after the feast has been served. What happened to going around the table and saying why each person is thankful? Is the nation more focused on saying thanks with commercial and monetary gifts?
Thanksgiving is not necessarily better than the other holidays. It just deserves a lot more praise than it gets. Sure, Halloween deserves a lot of its glory, giving kids (or kids at heart) the opportunity to dress up and indulge their sweet tooth. Christmas is a time to give and receive, to enjoy the final moments in the year whilst on holiday break. Falling perfectly in between Halloween and Christmas, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to reflect on the year thus far and a time to celebrate the people and things that one loves. However, Thanksgiving has become solely about Christmas. Shortly after Thanksgiving dinner is served, the Christmas decorations come out. The gates to every store are open and America, with her wallet in hand, shops endlessly for Christmas presents (only to have the presents collect dust under the fresh pine Christmas tree).
Maybe, Thanksgiving just is not culturally significant any more. There are films about nearly every other holiday. During Halloween, one can easily find the ever-so-frightening horror films that keep everyone in suspense with jump scares. Then, there are the picture perfect Christmas films that make the holiday season look like a dream come true, but what about Thanksgiving? One will rarely see the holiday in films. Parades like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, according to NY Post, received less views in 2014. Football games have taken up significant air time throughout the holiday, making it easy to miss many Thanksgiving exclusives. Also, many people have grown tired of the annual airing of Peanuts: Thanksgiving Special. Thanksgiving simply is not culturally relevant. Why talk about thankfulness when one could simply display their thankfulness with gifts?
It was not always like this. Elementary schools used to relish in the idea that Pilgrims sailed over and feasted alongside the Native Americans. Kindergarteners everywhere would enjoy their homemade bread and butter whilst wearing Pilgrim hats. Back then, Thanksgiving was not another holiday break; it was much, much more. Alike to other holidays, it held cultural significance, allowing each kid to connect with their predecessors. However, with time and knowledge, the holiday slowly drifted away, a bump on the road to Christmas. After Halloween, the countdown to Christmas Break begins, the vibrant red sweaters come out of the closet, and the fall decorations are taken down. Thanksgiving has officially become the middle child in the family of holidays, standing in Christmas’s shadow.