In this life, it seems that there are a multitude of things which severely divide people: politics, religion, and whether or not pineapple is an appropriate topping on pizza. Just how dug-in everyone is on those issues varies from person to person, and opinion to opinion. However, we all have a few things that we feel so strongly about that we’re willing to draw a line in the sand on that said topic. It is our Alamo, our Thermopylae, a hill we are prepared to die on. Today, I would like to share with you one of my Hills. By definition, this will likely be controversial, and you may disagree, but I will fight you vigorously to defend it. My claim is: Thanksgiving is a superior holiday to Christmas.
As you fling your sharpened candy canes in my direction, and hurl insults likening me to Ebeneezer Scrooge, I shall fortify my position with facts and reason. My Hill comes with 3 main defenses. First, the weakest and most subjective line: Thanksgiving food is just plain better than Christmas food. Second, a more heavily guarded embattlement: Thanksgiving offers the same familial environment but with better entertainment upside. And finally, the innermost barricade, the one impenetrable by exterior weapons or rhetoric: the lack of a gift-giving tradition makes Thanksgiving less stressful, less financially and psychologically taxing, and more wholesome than the perverted commercially-fueled love child of Saturnalia and Yule.
Thanksgiving food is, in a single word, fantastic. Fluffy mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potato biscuits, and seasoned bread crumbs that marinate inside a giant baked bird, it’s all just so, *chef’s kiss*, wonderful. Don’t even get me started on the culinary masterpiece that is Turducken. You put a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey? We truly have no limits to our human ingenuity! It’s science (I think) that as the seasons get colder, we cherish warm food rich in delicious carbohydrates and fats. Thanksgiving has all of that. Christmas does too, but Thanksgiving happens sooner into the season so it’s better. Don’t tell me that first ice cream of summer doesn’t taste sweeter than one a month later.
It is a well known fact that the day prior to Thanksgiving is one of, if not the highest volume days for traffic in the US. Everyone is headed to Grandma’s house for a slice of dark meat and some pumpkin pie. But more important than the food, is the camaraderie of spending time with your extended family. I know that feels like something from a Hallmark movie, but in reality, there are only a few times where your Aunts, Uncles, and cousins all hang out under one roof. As you get older, these occasions become more rare, and mean more to you as everyone leaves the nest. When else is everyone gonna get together? Granddad’s funeral? That hardly sounds like a good time. If you include Easter (or whatever your Spring/Rebirth holiday is), Thanksgiving and Christmas (or, again, whatever your Winter Solstice celebration is) are your best bets for these sort of gatherings.
So maybe on this topic, Christmas and Thanksgiving “push” on valuable family time. What are you all going to do outside of board games, dodging political conversations/explaining your most recent tattoo, or slowly getting tipsy on wine? Well if you’re a good, patriotic American, you’ll watch plenty of television. You can start off your day with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, before transitioning to NFL and/or NCAA Basketball games. Christmas is a different day of the week each year, so you aren’t guaranteed any NFL action, and they don’t even HAVE a Christmas parade. And before you all mention the 14 million other mini Christmas celebrations, let me point out that they do not take place on Christmas itself, and no one is watching DVR re-runs of someone plugging in a damn tree. “But Nelson! There’s the NBA!” The NBA is trash. Only a half dozen teams out of 30 have serious title aspirations; hell, over half (16) teams qualify for the playoffs, another third is actively tanking, and they play 82 games in a season! Why should I care about the Lakers and the Clippers when they aren’t playing a 7 game series for the conference title? The best players aren’t guaranteed to play in the regular season, as teams manage minutes to keep players in peak shape. You might as well try to hype up a random 3 game stint between the Astros and Yankees in July! Even if Cowboys v. Bills doesn’t have direct playoff implications, the fact that the NFL season is only 16 games makes it worth 5 times as much as any NBA game. Sorry. This is about how Thanksgiving is superior to Christmas, and I got a bit sidetracked. Anyway, point: Thanksgiving, for consistent and exciting entertainment.
And now we come to my final argument: not giving/receiving gifts actually makes Thanksgiving better than that December holiday. Trying to find gifts for your friends and family is a job and a half in itself. How much do you spend? You don’t want your friends to think they’re only worth a $10 scented candle to you, but c’mon, you’re not made of money either! You also have to consider what the person might think about your gift. Maybe they hate candles? What if they’ve already gotten 3 from other people? Is this candle just going to go in a spare cabinet with dozens of other candles this person has received? Are you implying that my house and/or I smell so bad that I need a candle to cover it up? And then there’s people asking you what YOU want. I don’t know Aunt Cheryll, my car could use a new compressor for its A/C unit but that isn’t a stocking-stuffer that you’re likely to get me, so… another woolly sweater, I guess?
Thanksgiving avoids ALL of this hassle and concern. You don’t have to stress about getting someone a gift they’ll like/use/appreciate/get offended by. And unless you go WAY overboard, no one is sinking themselves into hundreds or thousands of dollars in credit card debt to gather around with their family and eat some comfort food. The only gifts being exchanged are good times, good recipes. It’s what Christmas was likely meant to be before Coca-Cola and department stores commercialized the reindeer dung outta Jesus’ B-day. People unironically start putting up Christmas decorations, and playing music after SEPTEMBER 1ST. As if Thanksgiving and Halloween don’t exist. However, the misdeeds of Capitalist Pigs is the subject for another blog post.
I hope to have converted some of you over to the “heresy” of my belief. Thanksgiving features arguably better food, day-of entertainment, while being less financially taxing and less stressful along with the same benefits of a full family gathering. If you don’t live in the US or Canada, I suppose you could substitute Thanksgiving with your generic Fall/Harvest feast. If you don’t have one of those, then honey, you need to get you one, because these sweet potato biscuits are heavenly!
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