Thanksgiving is the best holiday, a fact obvious to anyone who loves eating and hates drama. For the rest of you, I’ve got 10 reasons to prove it.
Everyone Is in a Good Mood
Whether or not you buy into the “most wonderful time of the year” propaganda, there’s every reason to be joyful this time of year: no more summer heat but also not bitterly cold yet, kids are back in school, cute knitwear, changing leaves. And while the origins of Thanksgiving are problematic AF, at least it doesn’t start inane arguments over whether Starbucks honored Christmas enough on its seasonal cups. Right there in the name of the holiday is the reminder of what it’s all about: giving thanks.
You Don’t Have to Travel
Short of being too sick, poor or exploited at work, your presence is not just expected but required at home for Christmas. But Thanksgiving — likely by virtue of its proximity to Christmas — doesn’t carry the same obligation to travel on one of the busiest and most expensive times of year for the privilege of being nice to your racist aunt and washing dishes. It’s so acceptable to spend Thanksgiving with your “found family” that the holiday has its own nickname: Friendsgiving.
No Gift Giving
Gift giving is a beautiful ritual that gives creative and thoughtful people an outlet to show they understand you on a soul-deep level. For the rest of us, it’s an expensive and time-consuming process during a time of year when stores are especially packed. Blessedly, Thanksgiving requires no exchange of gifts besides contributing something to the party you’ll be attending — may we suggest a bottle of Champagne?
No Special Decorations
Already busted out the cozy blankets and leaf-printed throw pillows when fall arrived in September? You’re all set! There’s no obligation to drag a giant tree that was perfectly happy in its forest into your living room, or be reminded that you have no artistic skills trying to carve a pumpkin. Don’t let the decorative clam lobby pressure you.
Four-Day Weekend, Baby!
Because Thanksgiving is always held on a Thursday, many people get two days off for the price of one holiday. It’s the only logical thing to do, really: Employers know having regular office hours on Friday just mean most people would either burn a vacation day, show up doped out on tryptophan, spend their time sending emails that won’t be returned until Monday, or doing Black Friday shopping on the clock. Speaking of which, please be kind to the retail workers who aren’t so lucky.
Everything on TV Is New
Networks know most of us are in front of a television during Thanksgiving, so they’re making the most of every precious hour. There’s the three-hour Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade starting at 9 a.m., of course, followed by The National Dog Show on NBC; three back-to-back football games beginning at 12:30 p.m., and every sitcom and drama on the major networks is new. Or you can always start in on Netflix’s new crop of original rom-coms for the holidays.
You Don’t Have to Dress Up
Don’t show up for Easter in anything less than your Sunday best, Halloween costumes can take weeks of planning and assembly, and Christmas dinner isn’t served until everyone is polished to a high shine. But Thanksgiving is the casual holiday that understands you may have gotten blitzed the night before on the biggest drinking night of the year, or need some extra space in your pants for all the food you’re about to eat. Thanks for looking out, Thanksgiving.
The One Meal You Can Crowdsource
Thanksgiving is the one holiday when a single person isn’t expected to do all the cooking. You can, of course, but most groups have a host who also generously takes on dealing with the turkey, making crowdsourcing a perfectly acceptable way to fill up the table. Just don’t be friends with people who think a bag of potato chips and canned nacho cheese constitute a side dish.
The Feast of the Year
The way to celebrate Thanksgiving is by showing up and eating. The meal is the ritual of Thanksgiving, which really began as a fall harvest festival, so the table full of potatoes and vegetables and pies and meats is one of the most diverse spreads of any holiday. Really, when else can you put marshmallows on a dish and call it a legitimate part of the main course?
It’s the Official Start to the Holidays
Some people believe in letting Thanksgiving run its course before busting out their various end-of-year holiday decorations. Others queue up their 50-song Spotify Christmas playlist and stock up on gelt the weekend after Halloween. But as soon as the last bite of green bean casserole is eaten on Thanksgiving, it becomes culturally acceptable to start celebrating as festively as you want. It’s not a turkey that ends the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, after all — it’s Santa.