Thanksgiving is the best American holiday


I used to think that Thanksgiving was a pretty convoluted holiday. A day supposedly meant to commemorate the first harvest or make a friendly gesture to Native American tribes or whatever, it didn’t make any sense to me. I couldn’t understand how watching a parade on TV, engaging in gluttony, napping through a football game, and then getting up the next morning at 5 am for Black Friday shopping had anything to do with the historical roots of this time-honored tradition.

However, my views on Thanksgiving have changed over the years. Nowadays, I tend to think it’s the best holiday around because of its lack of commercialization and its uniqueness in an international sense.

American holidays seem to become less and less about the actual holiday and more and more about STUFF. Valentine’s Day is about Hallmark Cards and Godiva chocolates, Easter is more about what’s in your Easter basket than any sort of religious root, and don’t even get me started on the commercialization of Christmas.

However, Thanksgiving seems to transcend these capitalistic anchors. Thanksgiving ISN’T marked by the Honey Baked ham, the Bob Evans mashed potatoes, or the Little Green Giant canned peas. None of my memories of Thanksgiving are defined by something I got, but the time I spent with my family. In the modern day and age, that’s truly a triumph.

Additionally, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is truly American. Some countries have holidays LIKE it, but none are exactly identical. In Rome, a festival known as Cerelia celebrates the goddess of the harvest. In Korea, they celebrate Ku-sok, or the beginning of fall. Although these celebration contain similar harvest-aspects, both fail to embody the reflective thankfulness that defines American Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not just the start of a new season, but a time to think about everything we have and be proud of our accomplishments.

Some may have more pessimistic views towards the holiday. Who cares about a holiday that celebrates the fact that Pilgrims learned to farm? Didn’t the same Pilgrims end up killing off most of the Native Americans with their diseases and weapons? However, the original point of Thanksgiving was to be thankful. This trademark is something that has stayed with the holiday over the years. Unlike holidays like Valentine’s Day (which was literally invented by Hallmark), Thanksgiving is and has always been a celebration of family values and togetherness. That is something to be cherished. In our fast-paced world filled with gadgets and gizmos, it’s hard to find a reason to slow it all down. In America, Thanksgiving is our excuse to sit back, relax, and think about all we have to appreciate in our lives. In a world where only 27% of families sit down together regularly for dinner according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, we are in dire need of a reason to sit around a table with those we love and appreciate one another. The rest of the world should take note.