Olivia vs. Olivia: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: Underrated or Overrated?


We have the same name, but different opinions, and we are on a mission to tackle some of mankind’s most pressing issues.

Pro-Thanksgiving: Olivia Franceschini 

As Spooky Season™ comes to a close on October 31, many jump into the Christmas spirit, disregarding the greatest holiday of them all. Thanksgiving is the most under-appreciated holiday known to man. Unjustly sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, this blissful four-day, stress-free oasis is the best, and most underrated, holiday of the year.

The parameters of a great holiday are the four Fs which follow in order of importance: Food, Family, Friends, and Free Time. Based on this agreeable scale, Thanksgiving knocks it out of the park.

Let’s start with food. No other holiday encourages you to eat so much that you have to change into sweatpants after dinner. Furthermore, no other holiday’s cuisine is as inclusive as Thanksgiving. The beauty of it is that it’s different for everyone, but everyone gets to eat. No matter one’s dieting preferences. Vegetarian? Mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans, mixed vegetables, and cranberry sauce are just a few of your options. Don’t like turkey? Thanksgiving is not limited to the classic turkey dinner, some families include pasta or chicken-the point is that the possibilities are endless. Because there is so much to choose from, everyone is happy, which means you don’t have to listen to family members complain. When everyone is happy, they’re happy to be around the people they love, which enhances the Thanksgiving spirit.

Friends and Family. Thanksgiving is the only holiday left immune to the marketing virus. Every other holiday is so pumped up on marketing steroids it takes away from its significance. Thanksgiving, thankfully, (pun intended), is left alone by corporations–making it solely about spending time with loved ones. Thanksgiving is about family, not gifts, cards, or excessive decorations. Sure, all holidays are about spending time with loved ones, but no other holiday is solely about being grateful. Whether it’s cooking dinner, going for a hike or watching the parade, every family has its own traditions that create lasting memories. November weather also allows for stress-free travel, enabling people to actually see their friends and family. Moreover, Thanksgiving has no religious affiliation, which means everyone gets to celebrate being grateful for what he or she has and the people in his or her lives.

Finally, free time. No other holiday has mastered free time like Thanksgiving. The best part about Thanksgiving is that at least 40 percent of the holiday revolves around doing absolutely nothing. There is nothing quite as blissful as sitting on the couch and slowly digesting Thanksgiving dinner while watching the game. The entire house smells like pumpkin pie, everyone settles in, and nothing is demanded of anyone. Unlike Christmas, which is a triathlon of entertaining events, Thanksgiving requires one burst of pent-up energy to make dinner and the rest follows naturally. Thanksgiving is about family, friends, and food, only, emphasizing that the rest of the holiday should be spent however you like.

Thanksgiving is special not because of what it’s about, but what it’s not about. It’s not about gifts, it’s not about sales or advertisements, and it’s not about decorations. It is wholly about family, and it gives people a long weekend to carve out enough time (and turkey) for loved ones.

Anti-Thanksgiving: Olivia Genco 

There are plenty of components of Thanksgiving that are worthy of adoration. For example, it is important to spend time with family and it is nice to have a break from school, but those things are not unique to Thanksgiving at all. The only unique component of Thanksgiving is the large meal, but let’s face the facts the food that separates Thanksgiving from every other holiday is not worth celebrating. Under these principles, there is nothing unique to Thanksgiving that makes it worthy of any additional praise.

The only thing that makes Thanksgiving stand out from any other holiday is that it is centered around eating a large meal. In theory, a holiday solely based on eating should be great. However, it loses its luster when you realize that the food deemed acceptable for eating on that holiday originates from a time when people feasted on it for no other reason than that they were starving. There is a reason that we only eat Thanksgiving food once a year: it’s not good.

Food has evolved, and we are at a point in time where we can do a lot better than dry turkey and bitter cranberry sauce. According to The New Republic, “our bodies—in spite of our past anecdotes on family, tradition, and gratitude—crave the turkey less than other birds.” The article goes on to mention that cranberry sauce is made up of bitter (borderline inedible) compounds and that in order to be thick gravy must also be bland. We should not have to punish ourselves with foods we would naturally stay away from during the rest of the year for the sake of one holiday. Nobody actually enjoys Thanksgiving food, we just convince ourselves that we do once a year, so we are able to celebrate and enjoy the better aspects of the holiday.

Also, Thanksgiving is just as, if not more, stressful than other holidays. Although there is no concern with buying gifts or decorating, making all those dishes takes a lot of time and effort. The fact that those laborious recipes don’t even yield tasty results just adds insult to injury. At least the stress of buying gifts yields a reward, but the stress of making Thanksgiving food yields none. Another stressful factor of Thanksgiving is the time needed to travel. During Thanksgiving people are expected to bring the entire family together in a shorter amount of time than other holidays. Thanksgiving break can hardly be relaxing if you spend all four days driving around the country.

The blissful parts of Thanksgiving are the time spent with friends and family, and the ability to take a break from the stress of everyday life. However, those experiences are not exclusive to Thanksgiving. Spending time with family and relaxing are just secondary parts of every holiday. Also, you should not need a holiday to justify spending time with loved ones.

In all honesty, Thanksgiving is not worth any hype because there is nothing that makes it special. Even though other holidays are shrouded in intense marketing, they still bring everyone together as Thanksgiving does. Other holidays also bring families together and allow for relaxation. The only thing special to Thanksgiving is the food, and Thanksgiving food is hardly worth celebrating.