Thanksgiving is almost here: pumpkin pie, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, what’s not to love? Thanksgiving is not only about eating copious amounts of food that would be considered seriously unhealthy on a regular basis, but is about spending time with family and friends.
President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. This may not have occurred without the help of an author named Sarah Josepha Hale. She is best known for writing “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” but she also lobbied for over 30 years to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.
Thanksgiving was moved to the third week of November in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt, but was moved back to the fourth week in 1941 after public backlash, where it has stayed ever since.
Today, most Americans spend Thanksgiving by watching the Macy’s Day Parade, football games and playing games with relatives and friends. Thanksgiving follows up with Black Friday, where one can choose to venture crowded malls for good deals or watch the Iowa-Nebraska football game.
Thanksgiving Day food makes this holiday stand out. A turkey cooked well with stuffing is hard to beat. There’s enough sides for everyone to find something they enjoy. Maybe it’s the green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts or gravy. And then there’s the pies: pumpkin pie, apple pie, cherry pie, pecan pie and custard pie.
The food is great, but what makes Thanksgiving arguably the best holiday is that it’s much more relaxed and laid back than other holidays.
Most years, the average person gets more days off of work for Thanksgiving than Christmas, since it’s always on a Thursday and is not fixed to a calendar day.
Thanksgiving does not come with the stressful expectations that Christmas does. There is no grueling months-long leadup with overrated music blasting on repeat. With Thanksgiving, there’s no pressure to find everyone a gift at crowded stores, either. Instead, one can simply show up, as your presence is all that really matters on Thanksgiving.
Since President Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday, our national culture has become more consumerist than ever. People are busier than ever, so it’s good to have the opportunity to step back and appreciate everything we have and everyone we love. We can do that on Christmas, Easter and Independence Day, too, but that’s not the primary focus of those holidays.
The Volante wishes all of you a happy and safe Thanksgiving this year. We hope everyone will enjoy this much-needed break before the final stint of classes and finals begin.