Thanksgiving: the ultimate holiday

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Thanksgiving: the ultimate holiday

Kaya Ortega, Opinion Editor

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I experienced something new this past week: Christmas in November! Christmas decorations were displayed everywhere I went. Trees, lights, and ornaments are littered across malls, supermarkets, and even boutique clothing shops, but it’s not even December.

I love Christmas, I promise (I am not a Christmas hater). However, lately, I have been feeling as if everyone loves Christmas so much that one of the most important holidays Americans celebrateThanksgivingis overshadowed.

I am perfectly aware of Thanksgiving’s genocidal history which gave birth to whitewashed, sugar-coated history classes. I even remember making Pilgrim and Indian hats, while my dad endlessly reminded me of the racist truths behind this activity. I cannot pretend it does not bother me, but I do not celebrate that holiday. In fact, I don’t think anyone does. I celebrate Thanksgivingthe holiday dedicated to being grateful.

Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays that has remained almost completely uncommercialized. There is no Santa Claus or Easter bunny who brings children more frivolous, materialistic items. Thanksgiving does not celebrate one specific person and is not controlled by one specific religion. Thanksgiving revolves around the idea that, at least one day a year, we should be thankful.

Gratitude does not exist externally; it lives within anyone who allows it to grow. It seems that many of us, myself included, get so trapped in America’s mass consumption culture that it can be hard to understand what you have right in front of you.

Nobody needs money to be thankful. Nobody needs an expensive Christmas tree or a blow-up Santa Claus decoration on their front porch. Gratitude is free and yet it is not exercised enough. I mean, on Nov. 25, we have the literal antithesis of Thanksgiving: Black Friday. Moms, dads, sisters and brothers rush to their favorite stores to get killer deals. It’s a day specifically dedicated to wanting more, getting more.

Thanksgiving has never been a gift-giving holiday, which I wholesomely appreciate. Thanksgiving is purely about being with family and reflecting upon what we have, as opposed to what we don’t have. It’s about finding at least one thing in life that you are fully grateful foreven if you have nothing.

I challenge you to go enjoy your Thanksgiving break and the rest of November, without thinking about what Santa will bring you, and focus on what you already have. Real gratitude is endlessly beautiful, so my advice is to experience it first hand. You’ll be thankful, I promise.

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