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thanksgiving table set with a turkey on a heart platter

Why Thanksgiving Is My Favorite Holiday

There’s something so special about Thanksgiving. Like many holidays, we have the special foods and hopefully quality time with people that we love. But for me, it doesn’t have the pressure of other holidays, the expectations. And of course, I get to take a day and reflect on how much for which I am thankful.

Thanksgiving back in the day

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving wasn’t a shopping holiday. Sure, people may have gone to the mall the day after just to get out of the house, take a break from nonstop eating and football watching, and just stretch their legs. But Thanksgiving weekend shopping wasn’t the competitive sport that it is today. Who woke up the earliest?! Who just stayed up all night?! Who got the best deals?!

Thanksgiving, a time for food and family

No, Thanksgiving was just a low-key holiday where you could enjoy all the carbs you liked in as many forms as you could conjure. We made family visits, but also just stayed home and spent time together. We didn’t have to shop or open gifts or worry about if the gifts would be liked or that we spent too much (or too little). There was no pressure because it was just Thanksgiving.

Practicing gratitude during Thanksgiving

It’s definitely cheesy, but I always enjoyed those conversations about “what are we thankful for.” I especially liked it when someone dared to dig deep in their reflections, to be honest about surviving a health scare or accident or some surprising event from the last year. I always felt like these life challenges were too glossed over, but at Thanksgiving we have our chance. We have a day where we can say “phew” or “glad that’s over” or “it may be over, but I have been altered by this experience,” or some variation. It was the day to get real and be real.

It’s hard work being jolly

Christmas is great. It’s all perky and jolly. It’s filled with cookies and eggnog. It’s all about being happy (or pretending to be). It can also be a high-pressure holiday to either participate or fake your way through all the happy. Not everyone is having a good time. Not everyone can be that jolly. Don’t get me wrong—I have fun at Christmas and enjoy myself. But I also can see the stress that it can cause.

I prefer Thanksgiving

So, I truly do prefer Thanksgiving, both as a holiday that doesn’t come with all the emotional baggage and pressure to be happy, and as a moment where one can take stock (if you choose) to really explore the challenges of the last year. It still comes with a great feast (pumpkin pie!) and possibly family time, but less of the requirements that Christmas traditions may bring.

While there are various stories about the origins of Thanksgiving, I prefer to set them aside and dwell on my own meaning. For me, it’s a time to spend quality time with people I love and to be thankful for my life. I reflect on the challenges of the previous year, am thankful for coming through them, and take account of the blessings I have.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Cynthia Ventura moderator
    2 months ago

    Another thought provoking article Kelly. Your memories of past Thanksgivings are very similar to mine. A time for getting together with family and friends to eat, relax, give thanks and fall asleep in front of the television from all that tryptophan. But I never considered the low stress of Thanksgiving vs Christmas until I read your article.

    Fortunately, it was very true for me as a child and teenager but unfortunately, as a young married adult it meant a whole lot of running around visiting family members all on the same day. Once RA struck I still couldn’t relax because being young and shy I didn’t speak up and pushed myself to keep the peace and the traditions. I’m not sure why now because family was still never happy.

    “Awww, do you have to leave so soon? Your little cousins haven’t seen you in ages!!”

    And then from the next family,

    “Why are you so late. You missed all the food. We told you 3:00!”

    Arghhh This went on for years until now at the age of 62 I finally could relax and stay home with just my husband on Thanksgiving. We worked together preparing a nice simple dinner just for us. We went for a ride earlier in the day and talked about anything and everything then we came home to a candlelit dinner. I’d made Cinnamon buns a few days earlier when I was feeling particularly well and we enjoyed them for desert. It was pure heaven. Just recalling it makes me smile. So I totally agree with you now. Thanksgiving is turning into my favorite holiday too. Thanks! Now let’s see what I can do about de-stressing Christmas.

    CynthiaV Site Moderator Team

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    1 day ago

    Thanks Cynthia! I like the sound of your Thanksgiving traditions with your husband. 🙂 I have another friend who celebrates Thanksgiving at home with her spouse. Could be the trend is catching on! Cheers, Kelly ( Team)

  • Lawrence 'rick' Phillips moderator
    2 months ago

    I love thanksgiving because in my family we had this great tradition. We woudl get together have a big argument, and maybe a punch or two, with luck a call to the police. You know great stuff like that.

    Then we would get together at Christmas to have a big blow up. Always the police, always had feelings always a punch or two.

    Then, magically, we would not talk until next Thanks giving. Oh wow, you cannot beat a good thanksgiving blow up to get the holiday season off to a good start.

    Then I got married up and then my holidays got tame. Oh for the good old days. Lunch at home, lockup by two, Thanksgiving dinner in the evening at jail and then home first thing on black Friday.

  • Kelly Mack moderator author
    1 day ago

    Sounds like I am missing out, Rick! 😉 Perhaps the benefit of being home with your wife is saving on the bail money? 🙂 Kelly ( Team)

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