Thanksgiving under attack by Christmas

By Andrew Horton

When The Clybourne is playing Christmas music on Nov. 12, there’s a problem. I could hardly believe my ears, but it happened — more than a week before Thanksgiving, and over a month before Christmas.

Let’s be real: There is no war on Christmas, but there is quite possibly a war on Thanksgiving that Christmas instigated.

With the growing consumerism surrounding Christmas, more and more people are willing to desert their traditional Thanksgiving festivities to head to the stores for Black Friday and pre-Black Friday sales. And thus, more and more employees are being taken away from their families, forced to work holiday shifts.

I wouldn’t mind this consumerism so much if it didn’t detract from one of the most culturally significant holidays the United States has. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that is celebrated throughout the nation by people of all backgrounds.

It celebrates the spirit of being thankful for what we have and surrounding ourselves with those we care about.

Thanksgiving provides the wonderful opportunity for Americans to escape their daily grind and reunite with friends and loved ones. The weather is a perfect blend between winter and fall.

The holiday has traditionally allowed people to settle in, enjoy great food, and watch football as well as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

Accordingly, people should not be so quick to view Thanksgiving as inferior to Christmas.

I mean no disrespect toward Jesus, Rudolph or Tiny Tim (though I really wouldn’t mind if Mr. and Mrs. Claus were offended), but while Christmas offers many of the same valuable traditions as Thanksgiving, there are still some ways in which Thanksgiving has the edge.

For instance, I think many people would agree that Thanksgiving cuisine outdoes Christmas cuisine (since food is more the focus of the holiday). In addition, the weather is nicer, and there are a larger number of sporting events to provide entertainment (particularly for distant relatives who prefer bonding over sports to traditional small talk).

All that aside, the most significant advantage of Thanksgiving is that gifts are not required to make everyone feel happy. The fact that consumerism is left out of the holiday gives it a more genuine feel and generally makes everyone a lot less stressed out.

A study by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research found that people in the United States are more likely to feel stress increases during the holiday season due to this commercialism.

So why do people continue to exhibit more of the behaviors that make them stressed out?

The reason is that corporations have continued to promote the Christmas hype through seasonal advertising. They have done less of this for Thanksgiving since they see less market potential in the absence of a gift giving tradition.

The tradition of exchanging gifts at Christmas (which is economically inefficient to begin with), is what is ruining Thanksgiving, since more and more people are electing to forego a relaxed evening with their loved ones to go out to fight the Black Friday crowds.

Thus, people are sacrificing one great holiday to make the next holiday slightly better.

Taken at just their core traditions, Christmas and Thanksgiving are a tremendous complement to each other. If people can resist their desire to make Christmas a month long event, the pleasure from enjoying both holidays separately would be better than building Christmas up to something it was never meant to be.

Frankly, Thanksgiving could use a propaganda team devoted to maintaining appreciation for the holiday. This would be an uphill battle since these individuals would have to be motivated by principles instead of profits, but it’s still worth a try.

My first recommendation: Come up with a Thanksgiving song, and get it played at Cly’s. Then Thanksgiving might start making a comeback.

Andrew is a junior in Engineering. He can be reached at [email protected]