Canceling the Holiday Season?


As we slowly slog deeper into the holiday season, the yearly controversies arise: should Thanksgiving be celebrated, and should people say happy holidays instead of Merry Christmas? Each has their own valid arguments, and it grows increasingly difficult to stomach that turkey after getting to know the full picture, yet I don’t believe that these holidays should not be celebrated at all. 

The origin of the Thanksgiving holiday begins in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln made it official to heal the nation from the divisive civil war. The story of the pilgrims congregating with Native Americans was developed later in the Progressive Era, much later in America’s history.

While the story sounds nice and was made up entirely for the colonist’s gain, the history behind American colonialism is brutal and still affects Native American communities today. Massacres of entire tribes, manipulation of land and law, forcing the native people from their sacred lands, and providing them little to no assistance to escape the situation that they’ve been put in. Even today, many Native Americans suffer from historical trauma and alcoholism and depression are rampant on reservations.

Christmas also has many disagreements surrounding it’s celebration, mainly its terminology. Many do not agree with the idea that they should celebrate a Christian holiday. The United States is a country of religious freedom and diversity, and while Christmas is a normalized holiday, there are people that do not celebrate it. It also overshadows other holidays that are within the same time period, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

I don’t know about other people, but when I celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, I’m not celebrating the death of Native Americans or the birth of Jesus. It’s a time to be thankful for the things we take for granted, for families to congregate together before the year ends, and to reflect on the blessings that we’ve been given throughout the year. Celebrating these holidays does not mean you are supporting any of their origins because, at the end of the day, your reason for celebration is what gives these holidays meaning. Now does that mean we should ignore these issues? Of course not. There needs to be a correction of the classic Thanksgiving story and we need to be aware of other people’s beliefs. Being thankful also entails the privilege of being in a situation where we have so many blessings. The holidays are a time of giving, and there needs to be much more awareness about the situation that Native Americans are in, especially because of COVID-19. Donating to fundraisers, raising awareness, and even simply informing your friends about the situation and the history behind Thanksgiving are ways you can help. Celebrate, but be aware.