O'Dowd Student News and Muse

The Crozier

O'Dowd Student News and Muse

The Crozier

O'Dowd Student News and Muse

The Crozier

It’s Timeee! ‘Tis the Season Already?

Why does America skip Thanksgiving and jump to Christmas?
Union Square, already decorated for the Christmas season.

On October 31, 2023, Mariah Carey posted a video on TikTok of her defrosting from a giant block of ice. She preceded to belt “It’s time!” Under the comments, so many people ecstatically communicated their excitement that the Christmas season had started. However, Christmas was still 55 days away! Once more, a key holiday hadn’t been celebrated yet; Thanksgiving! According to Statistica as of 2023, Thanksgiving is the most popular holiday, however, if that’s the case, why does everyone begin celebrating a different holiday beforehand? It turns out that there may be more reasons than one.

The first Thanksgiving feast lasted for 3 days in November 1621 between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe. In 1620, the Pilgrims, who were known as separatists at the time, arrived at Massachusetts Bay via the Mayflower to escape religious persecution and gain prosperity in the “New World.” However, the feast was not called Thanksgiving until the 1830s, and it didn’t become a national holiday until 1863, right in the middle of the Civil War. 

Unfortunately, there are many flaws in the representation of Thanksgiving. Many Native Americans and others are concerned by how Thanksgiving is presented to Americans. The holiday conveys an optimistic portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people when in reality the European settlers and Native Americans had many violent and fatal conflicts. Over the past few decades, there has been an increase in awareness of Native American suffering. Many Native people regard Thanksgiving as the National Day of Mourning.

There are a lot of myths about Thanksgiving that must be resolved. For instance, the Wampanoags weren’t invited to the Pilgrims’ feast or on terrific terms like most people claim they were. The Pilgrims were celebrating their harvest and entertaining themselves by firing muskets, which alarmed Chief Massasoit. He gathered around 90 warriors from his tribe, and they set off to meet the settlers. Once the dilemma was addressed, they happened to feast together. Overall, Thanksgiving is a cheerful holiday where people come together and celebrate with their loved ones and reflect on their thankfulness, but it covers a bitter past, contributing to its lack of popularity.

On another note, Christmas seems to be celebrated for longer and longer periods. This extension of the Christmas season is referred to as the “Christmas Creep,” a term acknowledged by Merriam-Webster. Andrew Smith, co-founder and managing partner for Think Uncommon, a company that seeks to innovate retail, addressed this idea in his response to Newsweek,  stating, “Over the last 2 years it has certainly been brought forward in stores slightly, but generally speaking is the same most years.” 

The main reasons why Christmas is celebrated so early is because of retailers and the public’s Christmas fervor. Even though it is a religious holiday, Christmas has evolved into more than that. Americans adore the traditions, the fantastic songs about the holiday, and the comforting, joyous feeling Christmas evokes. These factors altogether result in early celebration. 

Another vital component of American Christmas is gift giving and receiving, which is why retailers are lengthening the Christmas period to boost sales. Smith commented, “Christmas products and decorations create an emotional reaction and a behavioral reminder that shopping and splurging is ok. It, essentially, promotes spending.” For many businesses, the holiday period is one of the busiest times of the year since consumers are most likely to spend more of money. 

To restate, Thanksgiving is overlooked, and Christmas comes early for many reasons. Christmas overshadows Thanksgiving because most people would rather decorate their Christmas tree, shop, and open presents rather than deeply reflect on what they are grateful for. It doesn’t help that the business and retail industries push for the lengthening of the Christmas season. In addition, there are several issues rooted historically in Thanksgiving, creating controversy. 

Celebrating both Thanksgiving and Christmas is great (excluding Thanksgiving’s controversial past). These holidays are super great ways to spend time with family, eat good food, practice gratitude, and give to others. So have fun and enjoy the holidays!

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