Opinion | Thanksgiving not needed before getting into the holiday spirit

By Anne Marie Yurik, Staff Columnist

To everyone currently listening to Christmas music — whether loud and proud or secretly under your bed for fear of the “Thanksgiving matters” spiel from that one judgy friend — you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Thanksgiving as a “you can now listen to holiday music” rite of passage is pointless, and considering how few people in the world actually celebrate Thanksgiving, it doesn’t make sense, either.

One thing many Americans might forget is that other countries do not celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a feast that represents Pilgrims’ first harvest feast in the “New World” — also known as America — that occurred in 1621. Since no other country was once incorrectly dubbed the New World, it is a holiday born in the United States of America. I know, I was shocked after I landed in Spain for the semester and came to the realization that I would not get a Thursday in late November off to overeat with family and then go shopping merely four hours later on Friday morning.

A day dedicated to eating to the point of having to unbutton my pants is not something I take lightly. However, the harsh reality that I can’t do that here without prompting Spaniards to wonder what has me in my feels forces me to look at the problem in the eyes — Thanksgiving can no longer be a day of transition.

No Pitt pre-departure meeting could prepare me for the reality that I would have to determine for myself what day is acceptable to non-ironically say “’tis the season.” While this dilemma is my cross to bear, I genuinely cannot bring myself to press play on my favorite Christmas song, “Last Christmas,” or even the more general “Happy Holidays” genre on Spotify. I would never wrong Thanksgiving like that.

Only American universities give students a day off to be grateful for their family and friends while the entire U.S. population awkwardly glosses over the reality of what happened when America was “discovered.” But Turkey Day politics aside, some would argue that Thanksgiving serves the larger purpose of allowing women, men and children everywhere to crank up Mariah Carey’s Christmas album and transform into a Starbucks peppermint latte without fear of social persecution. And as fun as it is to have the “why don’t we have Thanksgiving music?” debate each year, we have forgotten a much larger truth. Thanksgiving’s lack of existence in literally any other country reflects the frivolity of its larger purpose.

So as much as we’d love to think that the rest of the world celebrates a day when people overeat and then run over strangers with shopping carts at their friendly neighborhood Walmart, that’s just us. And since the holiday season belongs to no country in particular, we cannot hold everyone else to our standards, namely shading them if they don’t wait to hear “Holly Jolly Christmas” until we’ve bought our flat-screen for a sweet deal.

As a student abroad this semester, I am forced to decide for myself when I want to experience my first voice crack while attempting to sing Mariah Carey’s high notes. My mom will not turn on Delilah’s Christmas radio station after Thanksgiving dinner, and I will not then experience the collective epiphany that we will now invest our precious time to watch Vanessa Hudgens’ questionable British accent in the Christmas Switch.”

For those lucky enough to continue to blindly scold those who proudly decorate their Christmas tree between handing out Halloween candy to people dressed as princesses, vampires or the Port Authority sinkhole bus, know your privilege.

We can’t all be lucky enough to throw groundless claims at people who just wanna watch Hallmark in peace and get away with it. Nor do we have the opportunity to funnel our cuffing season energy at an all-day feast.

Some of us must face the chilling reality of Christmas time it is a selectively permeable boundary left completely to the discretion of its participants. The exclusively American Thanksgiving holiday cannot be used to enforce a rule about a completely different holiday season, even though we truly exude that red-white-and-blue energy when we try to use it as such.

We don’t need to be the Gandalfs of the holiday season, especially since we don’t own it. Before you go all “bah humbug” on me, know that you can use Thanksgiving as an indicator of holiday spirit for yourself, but you can’t make someone else.

So when you lean back in your seat at the dinner table, discreetly trying to pop open the button of your jeans, just know that Thanksgiving only indicates one thing — Thanksgiving. Alas, your basement decorated with lumpy gourds and pumpkin everything speaks nothing of Christmas spirit, nor can it be used as a global determinant for the beginning of the holiday season.

As much as it pains me to say this, we all must come together and admit that it is okay to listen to Christmas music when you want — even though listening to it in the summer months is a little questionable, right?