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The Battalion

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The Battalion

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Opinion: Society isn’t thankful for Thanksgiving

The+Thanksgiving+holiday+falls+on+Nov.+26.
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The Thanksgiving holiday falls on Nov. 26.

I remember a time when putting up Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving Day was a big no-no.

The passive-aggressive neighborhood Facebook comments would say, “It’s too early to put up decorations.” Or the neighborhood Homeowners Association would contact the perpetrator asking them to take down the decorations until the proper time came.

Now, in 2023, Christmas began on Halloween. On Oct. 31, I walked into Target to get some last-minute Halloween candy but was met with stockings, Christmas trees and the sound of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You.” I was shocked and horrified. Society isn’t thankful for Thanksgiving, and that’s the real Halloween scare if you ask me.

Mariah, all I want for Christmas is for people to gain some patience. Because I really like Thanksgiving.

So, why are we trying to rush through October and November? My guess is that many people are chasing the high of what Christmas once was and the opportunity a new year offers.

I hate to break it to you, but Christmas isn’t going to feel like it did when you were 8, and 2024 is probably going to be the same pile of horse crap this one was, stop trying to convince yourself into thinking differently.

Instead, take a second to enjoy where you’re at now, in this exact moment of your life. If you’re always looking ahead and waiting for the future, you’ll miss out on what’s happening right now. Because the best gift is the present. I know, it’s cliche, but it’s true.

If you spend your days anticipating what will happen two months in the future, you’ll waste those tiny moments, and find yourself utterly lost when that moment you’ve been waiting for passes. And most of the time, that moment you’ve been building up won’t meet your impossible standards, only letting you down further. Then the only gift you’ve given yourself for Christmas is regret.

Thanksgiving is the time to be wholly present and thankful for life and family. It’s one of the only holidays that emphasize the importance of gratitude in spite of life’s challenges.

This holiday has a special place in my heart because, in my junior year of high school, my mother suffered from an aneurysm in early November. The odds of her surviving were one in three. But being the fighter she is, she made her recovery and got to come home, just in time for Thanksgiving.

That year, and every Thanksgiving since, I am filled with regret. Regret because I took my mom for granted and didn’t celebrate every second I had with her before her aneurysm. Fueled by grief for those lost moments, I now make an active effort to be grateful for every day I’m given. Thanksgiving has become my time to slow down, stay present and not waste a single second wishing for the future.

I think about what my life would’ve been like if my mom passed away that chilly fall morning, and that sadness is insurmountable. I think of the pistachio pudding that would no longer be on the Thanksgiving menu, the silly paper crowns we get from holiday crackers that wouldn’t be on our heads and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that wouldn’t grace our television.

No one should feel that kind of regret for wasting the present. Until some genius creates a time machine, that clock will only go one way. So, make every second count.

You can listen to Christmas music all you’d like, you can put up your Christmas tree, I really don’t care. But take a moment to stop and smell the pumpkin pie. Let Christmas come on its own time.

If Thanksgiving isn’t your speed, change your perspective on it. Don’t celebrate in the name of the pilgrims and Native Americans, but in the names of the people who sit at that table, the hands you hold when you say the blessing and the people who you’ll miss when you inevitably leave that feast.

Raise a glass to today because tomorrow isn’t certain. Be thankful for the time you and your loved ones have been given, and when Christmas comes, you will have given yourself the best gift.

Being present and thankful for every moment of your life. Happy Turkey Day, and I hope you and your family enjoy every political argument, food coma and pie-filled second of this holiday.

Maddie McMurrough is an agricultural communications and journalism junior and opinion writer for The Battalion.

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About the Contributor
Maddie McMurrough, Opinion Writer
Maddie McMurrough is an agricultural communications and journalism major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Maddie has been writing for the Battalion since March 2023.
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