The Case for Thanksgiving

Author: Ross Hsu

Thanksgiving is complicated. In its modern form, the holiday is almost entirely secular, and pretty indistinguishable from other harvest festivals around the world, aside from the distinctly American food and football. Thanksgiving is also a historical account, and an amalgam of different holidays and traditions, and, on the whole, is a myth. But it’s a good myth.

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Chatham unites for annual Thanksgiving dinner

Laughter and smiles filled the AFC gym on Wednesday, November 18, as hundreds of Chatham faculty, staff, students, and community members sat around tables for the annual Thanksgiving Dinner.

The dinner is one of the many traditions that the Chatham community looks forward to around the holiday season.

The event kicked off with Hunter Milroy, President of the Class of 2016, and Sarah Jugovic, CSG Executive President, welcoming everyone to the festivities. Milroy also explained that there were a number of seniors walking around the gym selling 50/50 raffles tickets benefitting the senior class gift.

After the initial welcome, Jugovic invited President Esther Barazzone to the stage. Barazzone also welcomed attendees, as well as recognized members of the Board of Trustees and extended a special welcome to international students experiencing their first American Thanksgiving.

President Barazzone kept her speech brief — saying that she didn’t want to keep anyone from the fabulous Parkhurst food that was being held behind a large black curtain near the back of the gym.

There was a general sigh of relief when the food began to circulate — guests waited nearly an hour after the event began to actually begin filling their plates. Servers brought out large plates of turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, and sweet potatoes to each table. The dishes were served family-style.

After everyone seemed to be finished with the main meal, servers cleared the tables and brought out dozens of apple and pumpkin pies. The sweet treats brought a collective smile to the gym.

As a whole, many students felt the food to be a bit disappointing.

“I was slightly disappointed with the food, but the pie was great,” said Junior Corrin Walker.

Parkhurst did provide a vegetarian options for those students with dietary restrictions.

“I am vegetarian and lactose intolerant, so I was able to get the vegetarian plate as well as the meal everyone else was eating,” said sophomore Teri Bradford. “The vegetarian plate wasn’t warm which wasn’t great…I think that it’s awesome that they even tried.”

Bradford also saw the potential for other issues regarding dietary restrictions.

“When I was give the vegetarian plate, they didn’t tell me what it was or what was in it which could be bad if I had another allergy,” she said.

Regardless of the food, attendees were in high spirits because of the nature of the event itself.

“I loved the atmosphere and being with all of [my friends],” Walker said.

Bradford agreed.

“I thought that Thanksgiving dinner at Chatham was great,” she said. “It’s more about the friends and family than it is about the food.”

Home is where the heart is, or where the wallet is?

Thanksgiving is when people spend time with their families. It is a time for good food, laughs and togetherness. Corporate America has changed that this year. Black Friday has been going on since the 60’s, but this year it has been taken to a whole new level.

On November 1, I began getting overwhelmed by all of the commercials advertising for Black Friday. It was like they completely bypassed Thanksgiving and moved on to Christmas. Houses and storefronts changed their displays from Halloween decorations to Christmas decorations. It was way too soon for me. The holidays have become too commercialized, and people are losing the real meaning of Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re both holidays where you should spend time with people that you love, not stand in line in the bitter cold waiting to buy a new HD TV at half price.

This year a lot of stores opened on Thanksgiving. K-Mart went so far as to open its doors at 6 a.m., and Dollar General opened its doors at 7 a.m. This is ridiculous and unfair to the employees. They should be able to have a day off to sleep in, relax, eat some good food and escape all the hustle and bustle. Old Navy opened at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving., Michael’s opened its doors at 4 p.m., Simon Malls, WalMart and Best Buy opened at 6 p.m., while Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears, and Staples just to name a few, opened at 8 p.m. Thursday.

The fact that these corporations are making their employees come in and work on a national holiday is just terrible. The people who decided on those hours weren’t there; they were most likely at home with their families like their employees should have been.

One terrible instance of a corporation caring more about money than its employees came out of Elkhart, Indiana. Tony Rohr, who used to be a manager at Pizza Hut, was fired for deciding to close his store on Thanksgiving. Rohr said that he wanted to give his employees a day off to spend with their families. What is wrong with that? Most people eat turkey on Thanksgiving anyway, not pizza.

Everyone deserves some time off on Thanksgiving, but all these corporations care about is making a quick buck. The people who will be out shopping should be ashamed of themselves because they should be at home spending time with their family instead of standing in a long line waiting for the newest iPad. Yes, there will be good sales but in the end is it really worth it?