ZHAO: Stop it with your Christmas music!

It’s time to give Thanksgiving some TLC—tender loving care.

While you won’t be finding inflatable cornucopias or mechanical turkeys on people’s lawns, give Thanksgiving a chance. (Hustler Communications/Alex Venero)

Alex Venero

While you won’t be finding inflatable cornucopias or mechanical turkeys on people’s lawns, give Thanksgiving a chance. (Hustler Communications/Alex Venero)

Stanley Zhao, Staff Writer

Ah, it’s that time of the year again…

Off come the sexy nurse outfit and wacky sumo suits and on come the Santa hat and ugly Christmas sweater. Out come the inflatable Olaf the Snowman on the front lawn and the Elf on the Shelf with its little beady eyes leering dully into the festivity. Out comes the moldy Christmas tree with its gaudy star and tacky lights, so embellished that Buddy the Elf would personally trek the journey from the North Pole to your house to congratulate you on decorating. Oh, we cannot forget to whip out Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You” on speakerphone… on loop, of course.

Don’t do that. Not yet, at least. I’m here to inform you, my dear friend, that it’s November, not December. Even as excited as he is about Christmas, Kevin McCallister from “Home Alone” would not approve of you skipping Thanksgiving, a tradition that dates back to men in buckled hats landing on a mossy rock up in clam chowder country (Massachusetts).

Thanksgiving, I’ve noticed, is like that middle child in the family—you know, the one who’s always neglected or forgotten when the parents gush over the oldest or youngest sibling. Thanksgiving is the kid who’s stuck at the kiddie table at a family function while Halloween and Christmas get to join the fun. 

This year, I implore you to give Thanksgiving a chance. Don’t overlook the middle child, especially considering the circumstances of this hectic year. Given the context of the world we are in, it’s more important than ever that we appreciate every opportunity we come across to settle down and come home to something steady, something consistent and something loving.

This year has been a doozy; we got a persistent pandemic, a convoluted election and a tropical hurricane up our sleeves right now. This list can go on and on. And plus, aren’t you tired of solving for moles of iron(II) oxide or analyzing the Latin works of Petrarch? Why not spend a well-deserved break on a holiday that celebrates the giving of thanks?

More importantly, we should look forward to Thanksgiving because we are finally coming home to tradition. Tradition is what’s so special about Thanksgiving. In a world that fluctuates by the second, it’s nice to be home with family, with people who you can trust and cherish. Even if you can’t fly out to Idaho to visit the cousins and the uncles for Thanksgiving, that’s still okay! 

The sole practice of having a hearty Thanksgiving meal with the family is what keeps us anchored to our identity. So on Nov. 26, help your mom out and stuff that turkey, beat those eggs, dice the tomatoes and season those asparagus. Maybe you can finally master the sophisticated art of cranberry jelly-making. After a hearty meal, nestle yourself in a rickety rocking chair by your dad and sway yourself back and forth, back and forth in rhythm with the discourse of November’s nature. Listen to the familiar mewl of the neighbor’s overfed corgi, the whine of a disgruntled squirrel and your little sister brewing another lame Thanksgiving Tik Tok with her lame middle school friends. 

Take Thanksgiving as an opportunity to recall these familiar scenes—even the smallest ones—because the smallest moments add up to the most meaningful memories, memories that you’ll never forget. 

For me, our family tradition is to find the nearest Popeyes drive-thru line and order a 12-piece family meal with two large sides of mashed potatoes doused in extra gravy and five piping-hot biscuits. With our disposable gloves on (don’t judge; some people just don’t like to eat with their fingers), we trudge with our chicken in hand and find a picnic table at the local park, the steam of fried chicken weaving through the chilled air. For me, something as simple as crispy chicken wings hosed down with sriracha reminds me of my humble upbringing and the individuals who gave me the opportunity to be me. I’ll never forget these memories. 

This year, let’s give Thanksgiving some more love that it deserves. While you won’t be finding inflatable cornucopias or mechanical turkeys on people’s lawns, give November a chance. Give Thanksgiving a chance. 

Merry Thanksgiving and a gobble gobble to you.