Giving Thanks

CAMMIE BAGLEY
Athens/Living Editor

Once Oct. 31 passes, many people jump to thoughts of Christmas. They begin listening to holiday music, putting up their Christmas trees and buying gifts for their family and friends. This is a major oversight of a holiday that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets, and that holiday is Thanksgiving. 

Thanksgiving, as we all know, originated when the pilgrims first settled in this land that we now call home. They, along with the Native Americans, prepared a meal to eat with one another, despite their differences. Since then, it has become an American household tradition, known for the carving of a turkey while gathered around family and, then, falling asleep to the sound of a football game on the television. Those stereotypes of Thanksgiving Day are very true, but there is much more meaning behind this holiday than food and football.

For as far back as I can remember, my mom, my brother and I have spent the holiday the same way with no falter. We wake up, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and then go to family members’ houses to eat a delicious array of food. Growing up, my brother and I used to laugh at how seriously our mom stuck to that tradition, but, as a young adult, I now see the importance of what she has held onto so dearly. I love stuffing my face with turkey, dressing and pecan pie just as much as the next person; but, the older I get, the more I realize how important a day such as Thanksgiving is. 

This world can be a very harsh place, and many of us have the tendency to forget that our lives aren’t truly as bad as we sometimes believe they are. As college students, we already have so many opportunities that the majority of the world does not, and it can be easy to forget about all of the things for which we have to be thankful due to our hectic and busy lives. That reason alone is exactly why we need to truly understand why Thanksgiving matters. It’s a day that should be used to reflect on the things that we have in our lives that make us happy, the people who support us and the fact that we’re alive to see another day. When the Thanksgiving tradition began, the pilgrims were starving and struggling to establish life in a whole new place, while the Native Americans were being mistreated and having their homeland stolen from them. Yet, the two groups managed to come together for a meal and be thankful for one another. If they can do that, then, I believe that we can, too.

This year, I want to encourage you to not skip straight from Halloween to Christmas. Take the time to really consider what Thanksgiving means to you by not reflecting on all of the bad or stressful things that are going on in your life, and, instead, remembering the things you do have that deserve thanks. As you stuff your face with turkey and dressing this Thanksgiving, keep this in mind: “It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.”