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Turkey, football and giving thanks

Christmas is certainly a premium holiday. According to Wal-Mart, the holiday season begins after Labor Day and lasts until early February. Gifts, decorations and Christmas candy are on sale throughout the year, and the joy of the holiday is undeniable. But jolly December would be nothing without the very important month that leads up to it.

November and, by extension, Thanksgiving often get the short end of the stick in terms of holiday cheer — but what Thanksgiving lacks in gifts, it makes up for in ingenuity. 

For those who are genuinely interested in giving thanks for a prosperous or simply completed year, Thanksgiving is perfect. Without the commercial hypocrisy of buying and giving gifts, families can simply enjoy one another’s company and delicious food.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to watch the leaves change color (except in Florida), take walks on chilly evenings and then return to a roaring fire and warm cider. In states that actually experience fall and winter, Thanksgiving is just about the last time of the year when snow is light and the shoveling hasn’t started.

Since SNL taught us how to deal with bickering at the table (make sure you have a copy of Adele’s “25”), there should be nothing to get in the way of an enjoyable meal with loved ones.

To top it off: football. Even non-football fans can appreciate a full day off during which those relatives you don’t really want to see are occupied with yelling at the TV and each other.

Though the Bucs aren’t playing, there are still a few good matchups to watch. The undefeated Carolina Panthers take on the Dallas Cowboys, and USF takes on winless UCF.

Everyone in line at a store in December with a cart overflowing with gifts will talk your ear off about how special Christmas is to them and how profound a holiday it is. But what separates it from Thanksgiving, other than a dozen new toys? 

A bit shallow, eh?

Even if you subscribe to the belief that Jesus was born on Christmas and we bring each other gifts because the three wise men brought baby Jesus gifts, do you think that was the point? 

Gift giving and receiving has become integral to the holiday, so much so that it has replaced the actual moral of the story. If you are going to give gifts at Christmas because “even Jesus got gifts,” then you ought to give gifts to the Church or simply provide a basic service for someone. 

This Christmas, pay your sister’s rent or fix the leaky faucet at your best friend’s house. 

Unless you accept that giving exorbitant and ultimately useless gifts at Christmas is an inherently shallow and materialistic practice, you are lying to yourself and demeaning the spirit of Christmas.

Ultimately, Thanksgiving includes all of the things Christmas strives to have — holiday cheer, profound gratefulness for life and loved ones, great deals on shopping (Black Friday, I didn’t forget about you) — and does them better.

Happy Turkey Day.


Grace Hoyte is a junior majoring in English literature.