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Thanksgiving is most genuine of holidays

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Posted: Monday, November 19, 2012 9:57 pm

I’ve always held the simple, succulent spirit of Thanksgiving in high esteem.

It’s just a few short days away and to say I’m excited is an understatement.

Soon my family will convert my aunt and uncle’s kitchen into a smorgasbord, where we’ll gather, gab, play games and enjoy great food.

After a few hours, licking the salty remnants of a turkey and potato dinner from my lips, I’ll waddle over to the television with my cousins, sink into a food-induced coma and possibly doze off for a little while.

And I assure you, I’ll love every minute of it.

Anyone who knows me shouldn’t be surprised that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday — after all, I love rooting for the underdog. (Fellow Cleveland Indians fans, you know what I’m talking about.)

And it certainly goes without saying: Thanksgiving is the “underdog” of mainstream American holidays.

Most children haven’t even had a chance to finish their Halloween candy before they’re bombarded with advertisements promoting the latest toys, gadgets and gifts of the Christmas season.

I can’t even enjoy a fall-themed pumpkin spice latte without confronting the commercialized colossus of holidays, as Starbucks is already decked out with tinsel-covered trees and red holiday cups.

Annually this “Christmas cheer” seeps earlier into our calendar year, overshadowing my beloved Thanksgiving as we’re encouraged to partake in overzealous spending.

It’s disheartening.

After all, Thanksgiving is much more than just a day-long feast. It’s one of the few remaining holidays that have yet to be overtaken by commercialized greed.

I love turkey, pumpkin pie, corn and mashed potatoes — especially considering an elaborate home-cooked meal is rarely incorporated into my college kid diet — but I love Thanksgiving’s simplicity, character and message much more.

You aren’t forced to shower anyone with presents they probably don’t want or need, as implied by commercially warped Christmas.

It’s impossible to outgrow, like an Easter egg hunt.

Unlike Halloween, there’s no pressure for females to pry themselves into slutty costumes and parade across town.

No, on Thanksgiving I just dress down, eat up and take a break from life’s stressors.

I reunite with family members from across the state, many whom I haven’t seen for several months, thankful we can take time out of our busy schedules to be together.

We spend little money — just enough to prepare a dish to contribute and maybe a bottle of wine — and our biggest concern is just ensuring we don’t vomit from consuming too much food.

Simply put: What’s not to love?

I suppose people with less-than-functional families or family members spanning the country might not be as fond of the holiday as I am.

But I assure you, it’s possible to celebrate Thanksgiving your own way, with any group of individuals, and make it just as special.

For example, my group of friends from The BG News coordinated our own Thanksgiving celebration this weekend before we headed home for break.

It was an inspiring collaboration. Whether someone brought beer, bacon or a box of stuffing, everyone contributed to our delicious, albeit slightly unconventional meal.

Ultimately, it wasn’t the food that mattered though — it was the group of people we were sharing it with.

Many of us are seniors graduating in December or May, meaning our time spent together is even more cherished. I was very thankful for one of my last opportunities to be around everyone as a University student.

So what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving season?

Very few people will probably answer that question with “nothing.” I’d argue everyone has at least one thing or one person to be grateful for.

So, please, before you begin purchasing presents, singing Christmas carols and hanging twinkling lights across your porch, take some time to appreciate those things and those people.Don’t shove Thanksgiving aside. Go share it with someone.

After all, spending genuine quality time with loved ones expresses more compassion than any material object can offer — it’s the ultimate form of gratitude.

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