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Why I wish I had appreciated Thanksgiving more

Many of us tend to breeze by Thanksgiving and thus don't fully enjoy the holiday. Co-Spread Editor Kaitlyn Tom discusses why she wishes she had better appreciated the Thanksgiving break with her family. Photo: Creative Commons Image by Diane

By Kaitlyn Tom

I am one of the most Christmas-obsessed people you will ever meet. I begin listening to Christmas music in early November and I write down ideas for Christmas gifts for my family and friends throughout the year. Once Thanksgiving comes around, I enthusiastically cross off the days until Christmas. For the past 16 years of my life, I’ve seen the time between Halloween and Christmas as a time to prepare for the best day of the year: the 25th of December.

One of the events during that those months of preparation is Thanksgiving, which I often brush aside as unimportant. This Thanksgiving, I wasn’t entirely in the present. I was busy studying for my upcoming finals and constantly checking social media—I barely spent time with my family, except for during the dinner.


I know that I’m not the only one who did this. The sudden frenzy from Halloween to Christmas is a little insane: Walgreens fills up with Christmas decorations, families go Christmas tree shopping, and Starbuck’s replaces their cups with decorative red ones. Whenever I’m walking down the aisle in Walgreens or CVS, rarely do I ever see a Thanksgiving themed decoration. All of the decorations go under “fall," or “Halloween," or “Christmas,” but never Thanksgiving.


So why do we forget about Thanksgiving?


One of the reasons I can think of is that Christmas has just gotten exponentially better. So much so that Christmas has consumed not just one day, but two months.


But perhaps there’s something more to that. Maybe it’s also because we have lost sight of the good things in our lives and the precious times we spend with our family.


To put it in perspective, most of us are going to leave for college in four or less years. Four years may seem like a very long time, but in a grander perspective, four years isn’t a lot. I spend about seven hours of my day sleeping, seven hours at school, one hour to get to and from school, roughly three hours at extracurriculars, and about five hours studying and doing homework. That adds up to 23 hours of the day when I am either busy or focused on my own life.


To be honest, that one hour a day when I’m not busy, I’m most likely Netflixing or checking my Instagram or Snapchat. Even if I choose not to focus on my social life (or lack thereof) during that one hour, this sad add-up means that I have only one hour a day to spend with my family. Now, I’m not very good at math, but I know enough arithmetic to know that, as a junior, I have roughly 548 hours, or 22 days, left with my family before I go to college.


In the midst of junior year, I’m close to the apex of workload in my high school career. I know that, come senior year, when I’ll be filling out my college applications, I will be insanely busy. I won’t, and already don’t, have any time to spend quality time with my family. A 22 day estimate is generous.


It is hard to face the facts, but the reality is that we don’t spend enough time with our families. We are too wrapped up in our own lives of friends and school, that we neglect the most important people in our lives.


Thanksgiving is a holiday that gives us one full day to appreciate and really spend time with our families. We should not treat this holiday as a hurdle to jump over before Christmas, like how I did this year.


It’s only been a week since break and I already feel guilty for not putting down my work for at least a couple of hours and spending time with my brother, who I rarely get to see, or with my 10 year old sister, who always wants to play a board game with me.

It’s no crime to love Christmas, but we need to stop for a moment on Thanksgiving to appreciate the people we cherish and love in our lives. You don’t need to put back the Christmas decorations or return your Christmas outfit, but next Thanksgiving, try to be present in the moment and appreciate just being with family—these are the times you can never get back.

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