As soon as the spooky Halloween season draws to a close, the masses of America put away their pumpkins and devote their time to finding the most delicious cookie recipe, the perfect gift, and the tree that fits them best.
With the most popular December holiday, Christmas, still over fifty days away, fall spirit is wasted and traded in for the hope of watching cheesy holiday movies while enjoying hot chocolate on the couch. A better, and far more timely, use of everyone’s time and spirit would be to channel it into the national holiday right around the corner.
Thanksgiving is the focus of November- or at least it should be. It’s a day to enjoy some great food with the people you love the most. Unless you are anti-potato or are fighting for the rights of turkeys, there is no reason to skip such a fun and historical holiday.
Over 150 years ago, preceding the end of the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday making it celebrated by people around the country on the last Thursday of every November. Lincoln takes credit for popularization of what he called the national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” however, the start of this great holiday began long before the U.S. President made it official.
A few hundred years prior to the officialization of this great holiday, the celebration of the “first Thanksgiving” took place in the Plymouth colony located in Massachusetts. The Pilgrims who had recently traveled from England fleeing religious intolerance gathered with the local Wampanoag Native Americans for an autumn harvest celebration. The traditional festivities that went on for three joy filled days included playing games, dancing, thanking and praying to God and of course feasting on the classic Thanksgiving meal of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. Over a century later, President George Washington resumed the turkey-filled festival and President Lincoln later made it a federal holiday in 1863.
But even without the mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, the numerous activities and the opportunity to spend time with your loved ones should be enough to give Thanksgiving some necessary recognition.
Don’t get me wrong, I love “Rocking around the Christmas Tree” as much as the next person, but I also love the turkey carving and family bonding that Thanksgiving entails as well as recognizing that everything has a time and place. Despite the great popularity of the religious holiday of Christmas, it is just under two whole months away and it’s technically just for Christians to celebrate; America has a great national holiday less than a month away. By the time the turkey is put in the oven for Thanksgiving day, stores, hotels and restaurants around the country are already selling out of wrapping paper but somehow, don’t have any turkeys or fall leaves displayed inside.
Although in recent years, broadcasters have decided to televise Christmas movies way in advance, the 25 Days of Christmas refers to the season of airing Christmas related shows and movies leading up to the celebration of Christ’s birth on December 25. These 25 enthusiastic days begin on December first, not November first. By starting Christmas celebrations in November, Americans use up all their Christmas spirit before the season officially begins.
In ancient Christian theology, the 12 days of Christmas take place between the birth of Christ and the coming of the three wise men 12 days later. This holiday season doesn’t start until your true love gifts you a partridge in a pear tree on Christmas day. The traditional Christians begin their celebration on December 25th and not a day earlier so there is no reason anyone else should start to hang ornaments or build a home for their gingerbread men almost two months prior.
America clearly has the spirit, so let’s put it towards the holiday within reach, Thanksgiving. Similar to Christmas, Thanksgiving includes a huge feast, a day with your family and a whole lot of fun, giving America good reason to give it the attention it deserves. If the malls around America can recognize that Christmas gift shopping can’t begin until Black Friday after Thanksgiving day, the people of America should too.