Point-counterpoint: Is Thanksgiving worth the hype?

Jackie Maloney

More stories from Jackie Maloney

Matt Shea

More stories from Matt Shea


Photo courtesy of Flickr.com

A beautiful feast is prepared for Thanksgiving dinner. This holiday has given Americans the chance to eat a great meal, but are there flaws with this holiday?

Thanksgiving is a bust

by Jackie Maloney

Once a year, we are forced to gorge ourselves with supposedly delicious food, surrounded by thrice-removed family members who ask awkward questions in an overall uncomfortable setting. After this unnecessary holiday, it is impossible to even think about turkey or pumpkin pie without getting nauseous. Not to mention, the majority of food served isn’t even good. Honestly, does anyone actually like cranberry sauce? It isn’t even a sauce, it’s a pile of goop. And how often is the food actually cooked well? I have never had a Thanksgiving turkey that wasn’t dry. And beyond the food, do we even know the real story of Thanksgiving?

There is an awkward period between Halloween and Christmas and because we love celebrating a nothing holiday, while wasting money on unnecessary things, Americans decided to fabricate this holiday called “Thanksgiving.” Ever since kindergarten we were taught that Thanksgiving is an amazing holiday about making new friends; the holiday was made to remember a feast between the Native Americans and the Pilgrims. At my elementary school we had an entire week dedicated to learning the story of the first Thanksgiving feast. We made tacky and honestly probably a little offensive decorations and feather headbands and marched around the school like a band of fools.

But this story of a happy and peaceful celebration between the British settlers and the Native Americans is a lie. There is the traditional story of how the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims came together and celebrated the successful corn harvest in the fall of 1621. However the truth about the story of Thanksgiving is much darker. What was more likely the reason they feasted together was the mutual suffering and needs of the two peoples. Sort of like if you and your mortal enemy are the last two people on earth and you end up spending time together to cope with the loneliness and suffer together. In fact, Massachusetts Bay governor John Winthrop revealed in 1637 the true origins of our precious Thanksgiving: when a band of Puritans scalped, clubbed, and burned alive over 700 Pequot Indians who were celebrating their own feast. This event and similar massacres were repeatedly followed by celebratory feasts much like our beloved celebration.

Sure, modern-day Thanksgiving is less about celebrating this “great feast” between two peoples and more about spending time with family and giving thanks for everything we have. But even then, the thanks we give are most often superficial. When asked what one is most thankful for, more often than not one will say one’s family or friends. The thought in itself is sweet, but it’s the same thing every year. Frequently, it is less of a sincere answer and more of an easy way out. I guess in a way this superficial and hollowness is an appropriate response to this holiday, given the true story.

Thanksgiving is the GOAT

by Matt Shea

The aroma of steaming stuffed turkey tantalizes your taste buds. You have the urge to devour the smooth gravy with a side of potatoes and carrots. As you are treated to this meal, you look around at the family and friends that surround you and acknowledge all that you are thankful for. The Thanksgiving festivities are under way and your long weekend has just begun. Whether it be the tradition, the sports, the family or the fun, Thanksgiving always has been and always will be a special holiday. 

The origins of Thanksgiving date back to 1620 when religious separatists from England left for a better life aboard the Mayflower. Upon reaching Massachusetts, the pilgrims endured a treacherous winter in which many were exposed to disease and did not manage to survive. The settlers that made it to spring crossed paths with a Native American named Squanto, who had escaped slavery and was part of the Patuxet tribe. With his wisdom, Squanto proved a powerful asset to the pilgrims as he taught them many valuable lessons about how to survive. His ability to teach others how to prosper is what fostered the alliance between the English colonists and the Wampanoag tribe. In the fall of 1621, the colonists had been successful in their corn harvest and thus conducted a celebratory feast with the Native Americans that paved the way for Thanksgiving celebrations in years to come. 

Today, Thanksgiving has evolved into a weekend full of tradition, festivities and appreciation. Besides the valuable family time and important values that this holiday teaches, Thanksgiving is also special for many other reasons. 

For the average hard-working student, school can be tremendously stressful. As the transition from first to second quarter ensues, students are longing for some type of break to provide endurance for the next academic stage of the school year. Luckily, Thanksgiving comes along at the perfect time and gives students a four-and-a-half day weekend and a chance to catch up on sleep as well as rejuvenate. Being the longest break for a holiday (not including Winter and Spring break), Thanksgiving is certainly a memorable time that is appreciated by all students.

Meanwhile, the average sports fan has had a long November. Not only are three of the four major American sports leagues in season, but with college athletics as well it can certainly be difficult to keep up with it all, especially with the daily load of work that life provides. Thanksgiving is a time period of rest in which sports fans can truly enjoy the games and catch up on all the action. Not to mention that three football games occur on a Thursday which in itself is a spectacular feat that could only occur on an important day such as Thanksgiving. 

All around, Thanksgiving provides Americans with a peaceful and sentimental weekend that acts as a shelter from the daily chaos of life. So sleep in, enjoy the Thanksgiving Day parade, get to know a family member better, eat good food because as far as holidays go, Thanksgiving is certainly one of the best.