An Ode to Thanksgiving

It’s that time of the year when the weather has turned crisp, fall colors are permeating the green landscape of campus, and our community as a whole is becoming highly enthusiastic about turkey once again. In other words, the greatest American holiday is upon us: Thanksgiving. I’m often met with quizzical looks when I announce that Thanksgiving is the greatest—and my personal favorite—holiday of the year. What of the bounty of gifts on your birthday? What of the delectable latkes during the eight days of Hanukkah or the beauty of spring (and delicious brunch) of Easter? Well, friends, each holiday offers a diverse array of benefits to the American holiday-celebrator, but none manages as ideal an arrangement of wonder as Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving, at its core (ignoring all historical roots of the holiday), is fundamentally a function of three elements: good weather, good food, and good company. And it does these three things with incredible finesse.

Thanksgiving weather epitomizes autumn and provides the perfect medium between the cold winter holidays of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa and the sunny, moderate heat of spring holidays like Passover and Easter. As a native of Northern California, I’m a lover of chilly, November weather—the kind that drives you to snuggle into your blankets in the morning and break out your scarves, sweaters, and winter socks before braving the outdoors. Claremont’s version of this weather errs on the warmer side, but it strikes a happy balance between the perpetual (and wonderful) cold of the Bay Area and the flip-flop-enabling, temperate Southern California.

The highs in Claremont this week hover around 70 degrees, while the lows are in the mid-40s. These temperatures are also appropriately paired with cloud coverage, casting a beautiful grey light over campus to help us imagine we're living out the Twilight saga and (with any luck) just enough wind chill to make CMCers feel nice and cozy in those L.L.Bean slippers and pea coats on the way to Ath tea after class. And have you stopped to notice the piles of crunchy, brown leaves accumulating in mid quad? Next time you walk through, take a classy, seasonal Instagram to pay homage to the best season of the year. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Another thing to enjoy while it remains en vogue: the Thanksgiving meal.

Turkey. Cranberry sauce. Stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Gravy. Sweet potatoes. Assorted fruit pies. Pumpkin pie. Pecan pie. A combination thereof. Other fun things. If I know you well enough to invite you to my wedding, get ready to nom on this for dinner.

And if you like pie as much as I do and would like to tell the Forum all about it, take this pie poll.

Despite the fact that it is arguably the most delicious combination of foods known to mankind, Thanksgiving dinner is not served year round as readily as it ought to be. But while we're in season, take advantage of its availability; it won't last, and I'm likely to shed a tear when I finish the last of my Thanksgiving leftovers come December. The 5C dining halls have done a good job of offering this heavenly plate in anticipation of the holiday: last Thursday, Thanksgiving dinner could be found for lunch at Scripps and for dinner at Collins.

Appreciate this magnificent food, and bask in your fleeting ability to comfortably wear scarves, but don't forget about the last thing that makes Thanksgiving so great: the people you spend your day with. Whether you're returning home for the holiday or staying here on campus, Thanksgiving has the unique ability to bring people together for the simple purpose of sharing an experience of positivity and appreciation (the name does seem to suggest we ought to "give thanks" this Thursday).

You can spend the day watching football, baking pies, lounging with pets, or maybe playing Diplomacy for seven hours, but whatever you do, find the people you care about and enjoy their company. This shouldn't be too hard for those remaining on campus; we have no shortage of great people at CMC.  And for that, I'm thankful.