The Achilles Heel of Autumn
By Ben Farrell (Chaminade) '21
Everyone has an opinion on what their favorite holiday is: some love Christmas, others love Halloween, and some people prefer Easter. You never seem to hear about, however, what people’s least favorite holidays are. Anyone in their right mind knows there is a hierarchy of American holidays, and that there are roughly 3 tiers in said hierarchy. On top we have the big ones: Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. These holidays focus primarily on gathering the family and are rooted deeply in traditions. The tier underneath this consists of holidays of which you know the date but you only celebrate by attending a party or a dinner at best. These holidays include New Years, Halloween, Valentine’s day, the 4th of July… etc. These holidays are big enough to warrant a change in the décor at a local Walgreen’s or shopping mall or shape the look of commercials on TV to feature hearts or Jack-o'-lanterns, but at the end of the day they just don’t sit in the same league as a Christmas or an Easter in terms of celebration. Then there is the lowest caste of holidays: holidays that you only notice because you get a day off school or there is a celebratory sale at your local Chevy dealership. Holidays like these barely qualify as holidays at all. However, arbitrarily ranking holidays is not why I am writing this article. I am writing this article because I have a bone to pick with thanksgiving in particular.
Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather is decidedly wonderful; and, in my opinion, no season beats hoodie season. The leaves and trees are gorgeous, but the presence of Halloween is what cements fall as my favorite season. However, as excellent as autumn is, it possesses an “Achilles Heel” that I simply cannot overlook: Thanksgiving. To begin, Thanksgiving has an origin story that in modern times is everything but worth celebrating. In 2020 we should be well beyond celebrating the evils of early American colonialism. I have several problems with the food as well. While it is an absolute staple of thanksgiving cuisine, I think it is time we stopped pretending that turkey is the end-all-be-all of yearly feasts. Turkey is rather lacking when it comes to commonly consumed poultry, and many would argue that if duck were more popular it would eclipse turkey in no time. The traditional palate of foods present at Thanksgiving also makes it difficult for those who are vegan or vegetarian to find decent things to eat. At the end of your feast of mediocrity you are then rewarded with the most disappointing looking lineup of pies and gross deserts money can buy. Not once in my 18 years of living have I met someone who genuinely enjoyed pecan pie. There also an excessive amount of food waste produced through the holiday. Now that we've finished discussing food, I can delve into my other grievances. I will just say it right now, the color scheme is gross. Nothing says Thanksgiving like that ugly brown, orange, and yellow flannel shirt your cousin wears. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is stupid, and we need to stop pretending it's fun to watch. Thanksgiving is also bound to bring you and your family together, and if you are lucky enough to see your relatives each year, you absolutely have something to be grateful for. However, every year there is always that one cousin or uncle who is bound to bring up politics and other uncomfortable topics during the meal. In my opinion, it is time to ditch Thanksgiving. Spend time with your family and create close bonds with them throughout the year so that this holiday does not have to be the only time you see them. If you can, have family gatherings on Sundays and make food that is creative and not the same meal every single time. Grow closer as a family and let the potency of holidays like Thanksgiving fade. At the end of the day, my opinion may be harsh, and some of you may disagree, but I think it is high time we left this holiday behind.