Thanksgiving isn’t just a Hallmark holiday

Even before the Halloween festivities are over, the shelves are already stocked with Christmas goodies. It’s as if everyone has forgotten about that little holiday in November with the turkey, when you’re supposed to be giving thanks for everything you have.

Finding a Halloween costume a few days or a week before the holiday can be horrendous because the stores have already moved all the Halloween supplies out and brought Christmas in. Everywhere you go, there are Christmas carols, trees, decorations, sales and everything in between, even though it is only October. But where are the Thanksgiving decorations and foods? Sure, there are displays stocked with pumpkin pie filling and cranberry sauce, but there’s always Christmas intermingled in there too.

Now I know you all may think I am the Grinch or something, and don’t get me wrong, I do love Christmas — my house is always covered in Christmas decorations and the tree is decorated to the hilt. The thing is, none of my decorating happens before Thanksgiving is over.

The Thanksgiving season is a time to spend with family and help those less fortunate. Too often, people get caught up in the commercialized version of Christmas and spend their Thanksgiving days standing in line at stores for Black Friday sales (and even Thanksgiving night sales) instead of celebrating what Thanksgiving is all about.

Instead of being caught up in sales and decorations, why not get caught up in conversation? Why not volunteer your time and help those who won’t have a Thanksgiving meal and sometimes don’t even have a guaranteed meal? My family and I have often volunteered at local charities helping sort cans of food and delivering Thanksgiving meals to families in need. It gives us time with each other as well as serving our community.

Now I know many will say the spirit of Christmas is supposed to be about giving and family time as well. I agree that this is what Christmas is supposed to be about, but society has commercialized Christmas. The focus is now on giving material things and decorating everything with Christmas items. I have no problem with either thing, but only in moderation and as along as the true spirit isn’t ignored.

The main problem I see around the holidays is greediness and a lack understanding what the holidays are really about. There are many ways to enjoy the true spirit of Thanksgiving: volunteering, going around your family dinner table (or roommate dinner table if you’re a college student like me) and saying what you are thankful for, telling those you love you are thankful for, donating canned food, and anything else important to you. Don’t get caught up in the Christmas rush. Take your time to enjoy Thanksgiving, friends, family and helping others who do not have what you have.