It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The months from October to December are filled with festivities in the midst of Halloween, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Kwanzaa.
Both Halloween and Christmas have a month filled with festivities surrounding the holiday like children trick-or-treating on Halloween and listening to Christmas music throughout the holiday season. Halloween and Christmas movies are so popular that some TV channels have a “Fear Fest” and “Countdown to Christmas'' during the months of October and December.
However, Thanksgiving is usually only celebrated on one day. There’s not a big season surrounding Thanksgiving compared to Halloween and Christmas because of the anticipation surrounding the upcoming Christmas holiday. Once Halloween ends, Christmas takes over and stores roll out their holiday displays, including Christmas trees, because people begin to shop for Christmas gifts.
It’s important to give Thanksgiving the recognition it deserves because of the gratitude and appreciation the holiday promotes.
Many Thanksgiving traditions only occur on the day of the holiday, so it tends to be forgotten until the day of. To many people, the cultural aspects of Thanksgiving, such as compassion and being thankful for others in your life, are overlooked in comparison to the spirit of Christmas, which is why many begin listening to Christmas music right after Halloween.
But what does Thanksgiving have?
We’re starting to see some new traditions like Friendsgiving, a time where friends gather together and have a Thanksgiving meal. The term Friendsgiving wasn’t used frequently until 2014 after millennials introduced it, according to Google Trends.
Many families also gather together to watch NFL football games before or after their Thanksgiving feast. These watch parties can bring together the love of American football and Thanksgiving.
Another tradition of Thanksgiving includes watching or attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade to see performances by celebrities, marching bands and various floats of characters.
Holidays like Halloween and Christmas have a lot of popular culture, which helps the holidays get recognized more.
Why doesn’t Thanksgiving have more songs or movies associated with it?
Surprisingly, there are songs associated with Thanksgiving, but they aren’t well-known. The songs aren’t advertised very well.
Halloween and Christmas songs are played during the entire month their holiday occurs, so even if you don’t want to listen to these songs, you will. Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is You” has charted every single holiday season since it was released 27 years ago.
In terms of movies, it’s difficult to come up with an entertaining plot based on Thanksgiving traditions. Thanksgiving is about appreciating what you have in life with yourself and others.
Thanksgiving also doesn’t have any magic associated with it. During Halloween, we see supernatural creatures. The paranormal activity tied to Halloween led to haunted houses becoming a popular tradition during this season.
Stories about Santa Claus and reindeer make Christmas seem magical. Many children wish for Santa to go down their chimney and show up with gifts before Christmas morning.
Thanksgiving doesn’t have any of these elements which makes it harder for children to get excited about the holiday.
Since Thanksgiving won’t become more popular through pop culture, what traditions can be implemented to make Thanksgiving more enjoyable?
Thanksgiving includes being thankful for what you have and coming together with the people you love. Perhaps people could try to give thanks to people by writing letters or giving gifts to those who are important to them. These notes could explain why a certain person is important to their life.
These actions could give more meaning to the holiday of Thanksgiving.
People could also celebrate Thanksgiving by decorating houses to put people in a Thanksgiving spirit. People could decorate with pumpkins, squash and gourds. They could also decorate with autumn colors and pictures of turkeys.
We tend to skip over the celebration of Thanksgiving because of the anticipation Christmas brings. However, it’s important to celebrate Thanksgiving since it recognizes gratitude and appreciation for your life and others.
Cassie Golden (she/her) is a sophomore studying psychology and counseling. She is involved in the Marching Hundred, Marching Hundred Student Organization and psychology club.