As soon as the calendar page flips on spooky season, candy wrappers fill trash bins, jack-o-lanterns get tossed and costumes are stowed away until next year. After waking up around noon to a throbbing headache from last night’s higher than average candy and Jack intake, I flip on the TV to an unpleasant surprise. Faster than my phone could change the date, ads had already incorporated jingling bells, snowflakes and a jolly, obese senior citizen into their marketing schemes.
Unfortunately, this is not a surprising event since the holidays have continued to take a larger fraction of each year. I’d be inclined to play along myself if it wasn’t for one thing; arguably the greatest time of year is being completely ignored.
For most, the fall season begins in October when women begin looking for their sexy cop or devil costumes and just about every drink in the United States is laced with pumpkin spice. By November, the majority of people are surely burnt out on fall before the first leaf has even fallen or the weather drops below 80 degrees. November is the month when the weather cools off, the leaves begin their fiery fall display and the most wholesome American holiday is celebrated: Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is much more than a story about pilgrims and Native Americans gathering for a feast. Every family or friend group has their own Thanksgiving traditions that make the day unique for everyone. But generally, if you partake in Thanksgiving, you gather with family or friends, gorge on delicious food until you are in a coma, nap and maybe watch or play some football with a beer in hand.
I always eagerly anticipate grandma’s lasagna, beating some 8-year-old punks in backyard football and seeing family I have not seen in a while. But all these events lay in the shadow of an awful holiday created by the ever-growing consumerism takeover of Christmas: Black Friday.
While an entire dissertation could be written on how consumerism in Christmas has essentially created an abnormally long holiday season, one can easily attribute the overshadowing of Thanksgiving to designation of the day following as a day to save money on Christmas gifts. If you don’t believe that money and material items drive the human being more than anything, including sex, then look no further than YouTube, and you will see the true animal side of the human race. This “holiday” is why companies and stores begin their cheesy Christmas advertisements so early; what gets you in the Christmas shopping spirit more than ho-ho-hos and snowmen?
“So what’s the big deal, Michael? Don’t we all still celebrate Thanksgiving and have a good time? Don’t be such a Scrooge.” Hey now, I love roasting chestnuts on an open fire and saving a few Washingtons just as much as the next guy, but overshadowing a holiday meant to make us reflect on all that we have in life with a holiday that has become increasingly about greedily accruing more possessions is not a good thing. We all, myself included, want to think about what we’re going to get instead of about what we already have.
The entire spirit of Thanksgiving is ruined when all we can think about is the deals we’re going to score tomorrow and a holiday that is a month away. That is why when I see reindeer in commercials on Nov. 1, a small fire lights in me at the thought that we have no such emphasis on a wholesome holiday like Thanksgiving. That is why when I walk through Walmart and already see candy canes and hear silver bells, all I can do is sigh and put some half-priced Halloween candy in my cart.