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To Thanksgiving, Or Not To Thanksgiving?

To Thanksgiving, or not to Thanksgiving? That is the question — What ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the hunger and loneliness of a Thanksgiving ignored, Or take arms against a sea of hate, And, by eating, end it?

Reader, as you can imagine, the query of potential Thanksgiving festivities is equally as important as Hamlet’s suicidal soliloquy. Thus, I seek to answer the question: should we, as St Andrews students, bother celebrating this holiday?

If you’re an American uni student, as am I (*queue eye roll*), perhaps you find that Thanksgiving elicits homesickness, and nostalgia for fond memories of big family gatherings, opulent dinners of turkey and stuffing, pies and crumbles galore, and good-ole football (the American kind).

Or perhaps, you find Thanksgiving troubling, and rightfully so. I do not intend to deny that our conception of Thanksgiving hinges on a great myth. Though it intends to celebrate unity and friendship, it is fraught with falsehoods, and a painful reminder of a gross colonialist chapter of American history — a period littered with broken promises, broken ties, and unjust death.

Whilst I agree that it is paramount to decolonise Thanksgiving, ensuring that all who partake are aware of its troubling past, I equally believe it need not be entirely written off. Reader, we mustn't drown in despair like young Hamlet; instead, we should endeavor to make Thanksgiving both truthful and wholesome.

However, I must address the encroaching and infamous ‘C word’... Christmas! Many of my English or Scottish friends sneer at Thanksgiving, for to them, it is merely an unnecessary roadblock in the joyful journey to Christmas. Why revert back to autumn for merely one day, when our hearts are already set on another season, and our ears have been keenly listening to the Choir of King’s College’s Christmas carols everyday in the library for the past four weeks? That last bit might just be me, but nonetheless…

If you are in the camp of Christmas close-mindedness (as am I), I invite you to take Thanksgiving as an opportunity to celebrate Christmas with your uni friends. Take the beloved “friendsgiving” and inculcate that very idea into your favorite holiday, instead instituting “friendsmas.” Whilst I trust you can come up with a better title, I still encourage you to give it a go.

And if you’re keen on a more traditional celebration, don’t let me stop you! I merely contest that Thanksgiving should be celebrated by us all, for the mere reason that it allows us to find joy and celebration in the dreaded “deadline season,” a time colored with dull library sessions, the droning clacking of typing keyboards, and a lack of sleep.

Though you may protest, believing you’ve simply not got the time, I feel positive that every one of us can carve out our schedules to encompass one evening of wholesome fun. As exams taunt us and revision drains us, take the time to be present, and find gratitude for those who’ve helped you get through this semester. And, lest we forget, use Thanksgiving as a time to properly nourish yourself. Host a potluck, or a dinner party! Just remember, you can’t live on Tesco meal deals forever, and eating proper food always helps.

Ultimately, whether you treat it as a pre-Christmas festivity, simply gathering friends to watch Nativity, or take it as a proper Thanksgiving celebration, with turkey and pumpkin pie, know that merely making time to romanticize our lives, even in the smallest of ways, can have a positive effect.

Illustration by Ruby Pitman

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