‘Tis the season to spend time with family, cook with friends and support big corporations that make you buy as much as possible. Now this is a loaded topic that I could talk for hours about, but I believe it is essential to focus on two main ideas: Thanksgiving and all its misconceptions and problems, as well as the absurd consumerism that is late November and December.
Family and friends gather during this wonderful season to spend time together, yet this time of year has turned into something much more commercialized and routine. We show up at our relatives’ houses with a quiche that has been a family tradition for years and make small talk with all our uncles and cousins who we haven’t seen since last holiday season. We smile and mingle with our family until meal time, and then return to our lives and put away our holiday spirits for the year. That is perfectly fine and now quite common, but as a population, we have forgotten what these holidays are about.
Since these celebrations are huge traditions it seems only polite to try and understand where each of them came from. Thanksgiving, the holiday with the most falsities and myths surrounding it, has a way of bringing out the American in people. Whether it’s the turkey, pumpkin pie or some sick combination, Thanksgiving now ends with a car full of stuffed family members and friends, drunk on tryptophan, who then drive to Best Buy at midnight to stand in line for six hours for the sales.
Every year, there are hundreds of articles that explain what really happened on Thanksgiving and how the entire holiday was founded on a massacre. The problem is that still only a small portion of people acknowledge this fact, and most continue on with celebrating the horrific loss of life and culture that occurred in November 1621. Although the holidays are supposed to be cheerful times meant to be spent with family and friends, it’s important to acknowledge the past and try our hardest to prevent it from happening again, even though, sadly, it already has, in North Dakota. As a country, we have been brainwashed into believing that the story we are told is the right one. Yet, over the past 100 years, we have gradually begun to see that there are two sides to every story, and that the side we have been focusing on is the one that slaughtered thousands of innocent people.
Now that the December holidays are in full force, it’s time for big corporations to get richer and for parents to buy as much as possible to please their anxious children. The holidays have become so materialized that few truly respect this season for what it is and should be.
It is crucial for us to remember that these holidays were not miracles, and that many of them were founded on conflicts that should not be celebrated. As we waltz into the holiday season, remember to reflect on the past and acknowledge these holidays for their true meaning. Make them special and appreciate them for what they should be about: family, giving and giving thanks for the things you are so blessed to have.