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MY STRONG HOLIDAY OPINIONS

Mariah Carey fans beware
Two+people+arguing+with+a+web+of+holiday+figures+behind+them
Karma Patey
Two people arguing with a web of holiday figures behind them

It’s that time of year again, Jack Frost is nipping at your nose and there’s a turkey all warm and basted in the oven. As it comes time to gather with family and friends, and to remember how draining said people are, I’d like to share with you a few of my die-hard fall/winter holiday opinions. Let’s slowly work our way from Thanksgiving to Hannukah in this exploration of the holiday season. 

To start with one that may be controversial, I don’t think turkey is the star of the show at Thanksgiving. In my opinion it’s the side dishes that shine through at the dinner table. Think about it, the turkey is meant to be the creme de la creme of the meal and yet we spend all day making side dishes to fill our plate with instead of more turkey. I grant you that if your family only makes mashed potatoes and some stove top stuffing that turkey may brighten up the plate, but when your family goes all out on each side it’s hard to say the bird is the star. Hot bird meat just does nothing for me when buttery and herb filled mashed potatoes, creamy green bean casserole, and flavor packed stuffing are also on the plate. 

…my heart will permanently shrink to the size of the Grinch’s and there is no Cindy Lou Who to save me

We have yet to even take into account what is truly my favorite part of the meal… pie! I love pie whether it’s pumpkin, apple, coconut cream, peanut butter, pecan, or one of the hundreds of other pie flavors available. Saving what I consider to be a dessert shaped hole in my stomach for a slice of pie at the end of a meal is one of the great pleasures of life. To tag another opinion on that, I think pie is best served cold the next morning. Pie for breakfast is the meal of the gods and I will go to bat for it. I find the morning after Thanksgiving to be one of the few times dessert for brekkie is truly socially acceptable, and I’ll take that win. 

Now although this next one isn’t exactly a Thanksgiving specific opinion, I find it rather timely. In the strongest of senses I believe having a short week scheduled right before a holiday break is useless. This short deadline forces teachers to make plans that are oriented around crunch time, and pushes students to cram in a new unit that they will soon forget over the break. 

As I am currently writing this piece during a two day school week, I think that this time is useless. I have several classes where we have rushed new units to fit into the shortened schedule and all of those classes have set test dates for the second day of the week.  I can confidently say I have learned nothing in this incredibly rushed amount of time.

 A piece from 10News highlights that even elementary students and teachers struggle to keep focus during a two day week. Several of the schools in the area struggled to keep kids on track and that the absentee rate was far too large. Most of the time this results in teachers having to create lesson plans that are lacking on the learning side because they can’t get kids to pay attention well enough.

Now we may as well delve into the center of all holiday arguments: Christmas! I could rant to you for days about the complicated dichotomy that is my love and hate for the infamous winter holiday, but I’ll do my best to keep it brief. 

This first take is an oldie but a goodie, I hate Mariah Carey’s “All I want for Christmas is you”.  If I have to hear her freakishly high voice pierce through my car radio one more time, my heart will permanently shrink to the size of the Grinch’s and there is no Cindy Lou Who to save me. 

The Mariah Carey controversy has been a long time feud which reared its head to meme culture beginning in 2017, says the Economic Times. At this time the first of many “defrosting” internet jokes would appear claiming that on November 1st the superstar unthaws and it’s time for Christmas. Carey herself has recently also poked fun at the meme with her own video. Her video features two Halloween costume adorned people defrosting her from a block of ice with hairdryers as the clock ticks from Halloween to November. As she is released her piercing voice comes through the ice to say “it’s time” to begin the Christmas season. 

While I do appreciate the humor of it all, and how the star has embraced the meme, you still won’t find the classic holiday song on my playlist any time soon. 

Now to turn to a more serious topic one of my strongest opinions concerning the winter holidays is the ever skyrocketing levels of spending in the United States this time of year. With films like “Dawn of the Dead” that openly comment on the zombie-like nature of shoppers on a regular basis this effect is doubled when factoring in Christmas buying. 

On Black Friday we see people swarm stores to get to the best deal fastest and online rates of shopping in the last few years have reached fantastical rates. Forbes predicts that “The online shopping numbers (included in the total) are expected to reach between $273.7 billion and $278.8 billion, up from $255.8 billion last year, an increase of 7% to 9%.” These numbers for online spending alone are higher than I or many could have imagined. 

The educational site, This explains why Americans may feel more inclined to spend during the next month. One such reason is that holiday marketing tends to be very in your face at this time. Some examples provided are “Great gift ideas” or “He/She will love this”. This notes that companies use the Christmas season to push the idea that “the more you spend the more you show love.” 

The idea that a more expensive gift will make all the difference in yours or a loved one’s life makes me sad. Christmas used to be a holiday about spending time together and celebrating whatever the holiday meant to you whether that be a religious or family context or more. Now more often than not we get caught up in the wrapping paper of it all. 

This also suggests that the level of buying at this time is not only unhealthy in context of spending rates, but also that it can have negative effects on climate health. “‘Even though many of us accept and believe the warnings of the scientific community on the need for people to consume less in the context of a changing climate, there seems to be an exception around Christmas.’” 

Now this all sounds very negative when it comes to gift giving, but the concern is centered more around the rates of spending and the waste that comes with it. I don’t think anyone should stop giving during Christmas, I just think the way we go about it could be better. This gives a couple examples of more sustainable ways to give. For a start one could move to less quantity of gift and instead something that shows you put a lot of thought into what you were buying. People tend to appreciate the connection through the gift over the object itself. Another example is to give an experience instead of an item. Research shows that going out and doing something new or fun leads to increased rates of happiness, especially when you do it with people you care for. 

My final strong holiday opinion revolves around an issue that has been discussed for a long time and it is a lack of representation. While Christmas is a big deal and many celebrate it, there is a large part of the population that is Jewish and instead celebrate Hanukkah or Chanukah. 

I don’t encourage that we commercialize the holiday by selling more cheesy themed menorahs or claiming that unless the gifts given over the days are expensive you don’t love people close to you. What I would like to see is more general acknowledgement of the holiday. At times we have been given up to two weeks for Christmas break, and anyone on the street can hear another shout “Merry Christmas” but Hanukkah tends to get passed by. I grew up watching hundreds of Christmas movies and in classrooms where Christmas was always celebrated, but I learned very little about the Jewish holiday when I was young. 

At a time in the world when there are incredibly sensitive topics concerning Jewish people, and with antisemitism on the rise in North America, I believe more education on simple things like Hanukkah would be productive. If kids were able to understand why their peers might celebrate at a different time than them, and the importance of Hanukkah, they might grow up to be a bit more understanding.


For your viewing delight: I also give you the wonderful Kelsie Jo LaRocque and her amazing shirt that perfectly describes this piece!

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  • Kelsie displaying a shirt that reads, “Instead of gifts I’m giving everyone my opinion”

About the Contributors
Andrew Buchholz, Reporter
"I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it" (Alice Walker).
Karma Patey, Illustrator
the dude who draws the things who isn't the other one