Christmas is one of the most incredible times of the year; snow on the ground, a warm fire in the living room, and twinkly lights around every turn. When I was young, I loved Christmas. Toys and treats had me in a daze for almost a week straight. I was a typical kid, and my focus during any holiday was, “What do I get? Who brought me presents? ”. I never realized the true meaning of why we have holidays, other than presents, until I was seventeen years old. As I’ve started to see my family less and my co-workers more, I understand that the true meaning of holidays in general, is to spend time with our loved ones.
Taking my new found wisdom into account, my opinion of the “best holiday of the year” has changed from Christmas to Thanksgiving. My views, including favorite holiday, have changed because my focus on what’s important has matured. Christmas is a kid’s favorite holidays for really only one reason: presents. We live in a society where materialistic things outweigh almost anything else. We would do almost anything to get the new iPhone, and we have an annual “buy as much as you can” day, also known as Black Friday. Christmas, unfortunately, has gone away from its religious origins and has been turned into the most expensive holiday of the year.
Although I am sitting here trashing Christmas, I do still enjoy the snow and the decorations; who doesn’t? Snow sets the stage for Santa, and decorations make it all the merrier. Twinkling lights accompany almost every roof and dance in the cold winter gusts. The weather and feel of Christmas couldn’t be more perfect for the holiday; cold keeps us in the house and makes the fire feel all the more wonderful, while sugary treats and presents make our tummies and shelves feel good. Unfortunately for Christmas, my love for the day has diminished.
I have grown up to see how selfish our society is during this time of year and now different we treat the holiday than it is actually supposed to be. Christmas is a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, not to celebrate about the new camera we just got. Christmas was a wonderful holiday for me when I was younger; I’m sad to have grown up and seen how selfish we really are during this “giving” time of year. Turkeys and football and family, oh my! Thanksgiving has won my vote for “favorite holiday”. A genuinely preserved time of year that hasn’t taken on (as much of) the commercial business as Christmas has.
Thanksgiving was originally celebrated to give thanks and to remember the Pilgrims that arrived to this country, right? That’s what I’ve been taught in school, so let’s hope that’s correct. Looking at the meaning of Thanksgiving in 2013, it looks to have kept the same purpose. A typical Thanksgiving day for my family starts with a light breakfast– if any– a hefty Thanksgiving day linner (lunch and dinner), and then a nap on the couch while watching the big football game. During Thanksgiving dinner, my family talks about what we’re thankful for, and, since we’re all history geeks, we talk about how hard the Pilgrims had it back then.
Almost every family gets together with as many relatives as they can corral in, and simply enjoys being together. Many families play a game of backyard football, cook dinner, and enjoy TV shows together. On thanksgiving, unless Grandma and Grandpa surprise you, no presents are given or received. The focus is not taken away from the meaning of the holiday by annoying songs about kissing under the mistletoe or wanting teeth for Christmas, nor is it taken away by excessive gift giving. No longer am I obsessed with Malibu Barbie or the Justin Bieber Christmas CD, I have overcome the materialistic plague that haunts our society.
I enjoy the down time with my grandparents, I cherish the time I have with my siblings outside playing in the leaves, and I appreciate the humbling day to bring me back to reality and to tell my irrational teenage mind that I actually have an incredibly good life. You will probably never hear someone say “Thanksgiving is overrated” because it is not. Thanksgiving is one of those Holidays that creep up on people towards the end of November because it isn’t as publicized as Christmas.
People love Thanksgiving because it’s that holiday where it’s okay to be in comfy clothes, it’s okay to eat a ton and pass out on the couch, and it’s encouraged to be with family. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because my view on what’s important has changed drastically; I now believe that family is more important than the iPhone 5s. Holidays are to be enjoyed by everyone, and should not be taken for granted. Many things change from the time we are seven to the time we are seventeen; hopefully one of the most dramatic changes are the things that we value.
Yes, Christmas and Barbie had my heart at one point in my life, and I would have considered anyone a foe who spoke out against my beloved presents; however, it’s nice to see that I now am mature enough to say that all I want for Christmas is for my family to be together. Going off to college in less than a year, I no longer take family time for granted, and I don’t think I ever will again. We live in such a material world and it makes me sad to see Christmas, a truly beautiful holiday, turned into a greedy and expensive time of year. Until my views mature more, Thanksgiving will be my favorite holiday.