Ways to Enjoy this Thanksgiving


Max Tapper

Ever since I was a young child, Thanksgiving has always been one of my top favorite holidays. The various aspects associated with Thanksgiving have always proved fascinating and comforting to me. I remember that I would spend every year watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade anticipating the final float starring Santa Claus himself. Upon the first glimpse of that white beard and red suit, I will never forget the rush of euphoria I would receive for the enchanted holiday season to come. Another aspect of Thanksgiving that I take great pleasure in is, unsurprisingly, the food. The dinner menu sports all the classics, such as mashed potatoes, cornbread, and the Stove Top-stuffed turkey. However, the main attraction for me has always been a slick, sweet slice of Delicious Orchards pumpkin pie. At least for me, thick, brown paste generated from real pumpkins and crisp, floury crust are a match made in paradise. Ultimately, I find the overall concept of Thanksgiving to be touching and comforting. No matter how hard of a year I am having, there will always be one day when I will be around the people I love and have the experiences that truly matter to me. I am Max Tapper, and I am here to give you, my fellow students, some suggestions on how you can find pleasure for Thanksgiving yourselves. 

1. Watch Some of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade This Year

As you can likely imagine, The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade serves as a great deal of pleasure for me. Throughout my youth, I have greatly enjoyed watching extravagant musical numbers, vivid floats, and giant character balloons pass by as one exhibit of jubilation after another. Even today, the character balloons continue to gratify me, as they serve as joyful reminders of how these characters have shaped who I am today. In The 2019 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, one of my favorite balloons was Spongebob with his pet snail Gary resting on top of his head. Seeing this float reminded me how as a child, Spongebob’s optimistic and lighthearted outlook on life always proved entertaining as well as comforting for me. On my absolute worst days, watching Spongebob make a song about ripping his trunks in the episode ‘‘Ripped Pants’’ never failed to make the pain go away. I also admired how Spongebob always valued making the effort to establish healthy connections with those around him, even the diabolical Plankton. Today, Spongebob has inspired me to always try and see the best in any situation or person you are confronted with, no matter how doubtful or nervous you may be. This year, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade’s character balloons include Pikachu from Pokemon, Snoopy from Peanuts, and Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid. If you want to, tune in to the parade this year to see these balloons in action. I recommend that as you watch, try to think about how these characters have helped form you into the person you are today. By taking this approach, you will not only likely feel nostalgia, but you will also come to understand, and somewhat appreciate, how fictional entertainment has impacted our society. 

2. Watch a Fun Thanksgiving Movie or Television Special with Your Family and Friends

Throughout my childhood, I have taken great pleasure in viewing films and television specials in which the setting of the story concerns a celebrated holiday. Albeit not a Thanksgiving special, a prime example for me remains as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!. This Charlie Brown special follows Charlie’s good friend Linus falling into the delusion of the Great Pumpkin. Linus asserts that every year, the Great Pumpkin will rise out of the pumpkin patch that he feels is most deserving. Although Linus’ peers ridicule him for his beliefs, Charlie’s younger sister Sally chooses to believe Linus and stays with him in the pumpkin patch. However, when morning comes, the Great Pumpkin has not arrived, and Lucy scolds poor Linus for making her miss out on a fun night trick or treating. For me, what makes It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown so memorable is the tragicomic fashion that the story is told. After viewing the special, I would often find myself igniting an in-depth conversation on how the storytelling methods utilized linked to the Charlie Brown series’ success among children and adults alike. Television programs that exercise the three types of irony (i.e. dramatic, situational, and verbal) have always proved the most captivating for me, hence why the Charlie Brown television specials will forever have a home in my heart. If you are the kind of person seeking nostalgia, try finding some time to watch A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, which follows Peppermint Patty inviting herself to Charlie’s Thanksgiving dinner. However, Patty is not exactly pleased when she finds popcorn, toast, and jelly beans on the menu. If you are looking for a laugh, try watching the 2013 animated movie Free Birds, which follows a turkey named Reggie and a fowl named Jake time-traveling to the first Thanksgiving in 1621. I recommend finding some family members or friends to watch with you as well, as you can spark a conversation regarding one’s favorite character or moment from the film. Generally, I have learned that no matter how you feel about your interests and pleasures, it helps to find like-minded individuals that can smile, laugh, and cry with you in this ever-changing world we live in.

3. Listen to a Thanksgiving Song

Music has had a massive impact on who I am as a person. During my infancy and toddler years, my family’s caretaker Baroness would purchase compact discs that would play lullaby tunes. When it came time for me to go to bed, Baroness would put these compact discs in the radio alarm clock and press play. As Baroness left the room, I would focus my attention on the soft-sounding, relaxing music that came out of the radio alarm clock’s speakers. I would also take into account the darkness of my bedroom that surrounded me, and how the lullaby tune would establish a relaxing, reassuring mood in the otherwise fear-inducing murk. As I progressed into childhood, I would be exposed to various genres of music in a scholarly setting. Conover Road Primary School would introduce me to Mr. Willis, who I now classify as one of the most influential teachers that I have ever had in my academic journey. Upon meeting Mr. Willis, I was quick to notice his cheerful, good-natured outlook regarding his occupation teaching music to young children. However, I would soon find that Mr. Willis was very attentive to detail, and he was not afraid to tell a student that he or she could try harder. What I have learned from my time with Mr. Willis is that success is not limited to one definition, and that having passion is the key to thriving in whatever you choose to do. As I progressed into Conover Road Elementary School, I would utilize my experience with Mr. Willis in order to find great pleasure in taking Mrs. Tarby’s music class. One day, before Thanksgiving break, Mrs. Tarby played a Thanksgiving-themed song with the title of ‘‘Turkeys United’’. This song was played in the key of F major, and would set a fictional situation in which turkeys would protest against being eaten on Thanksgiving. In the song, the turkeys would propose that people try selecting carrots, beans, or even a sausage pizza as their main course for Thanksgiving dinner. If you would like to hear ‘Turkeys United’’, here is the link to a sing-along of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hau3wrYB3k. I suggest that you share this song with your family and friends to give them a good laugh, which will likely make them thankful for music and comedy in their lives. 

4. Help a Family Member or Friend with Thanksgiving Dinner

I have come to strongly value providing assistance to those around me. I would like to thank my mother especially for teaching me the importance of lending others a helping hand. To explain, on Friday nights, my mother would take me, my elder brother Zachary, my grandmother, and my grandfather to Congregation Ahavat Olam for services. Upon entering the building, my mother would always tell Zach and I to open the door for my grandmother and my grandfather. I would consider how my grandmother and grandfather were at the age where actions that were easy for me, such as opening a door, had unfortunately become much harder for them. This would ultimately prompt me to decide to open the door for my grandmother and grandfather so that they could get in efficiently. As simple as this experience may seem, over the years, holding the door has driven me to exercise compassion for my peers and those that I have had troubled relationships with. I have learned that in life, you are going to meet people that you simply do not like. However, just because you do not like a person does not mean you should not respect them. Instead, you need to put yourself in their shoes and understand that everyone is fighting a battle that you know nothing about. Maybe the kid who poured his drink on your pants got a flat tire while driving to school. Perhaps the teacher who screamed at the entire class had an intense argument with her husband the previous night. My point is that you should always try to take into account the perspectives of others around you, and if someone needs assistance, always volunteer to pitch in. In my younger years, I greatly enjoyed helping my mother make scrambled eggs on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Not only was it fun for me to use the various cooking utensils, but it was also a great feeling to know that I had helped someone who helped me on a daily basis. This year, and for many more years to come, I suggest you ask your parents or close friends to see where you can help them in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. Try asking if you can help set the table, as chores along those lines allow you to improve your organization and problem-solving skills. Also, always be willing to purchase food products to serve for Thanksgiving. For example, if your friend’s family is in need of three apple pies, get a ride, or if you are able to, drive yourself to Delicious Orchards to pick the pies up. Not only will your friend’s family be very thankful, but it will also be very satisfying for you to know that you have helped someone that matters to you. 

5. Spark a Casual Conversation with Someone at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table

There are a lot of things that you can do in order to have a positive impact on the world around you. You can pick a student’s books up for them if they have had a fall. You can volunteer to clean up the dinner table on a nightly basis. While these are things that you should indeed do, it is also important to keep in mind that there are many things that you can say to make the world a better place. In today’s age, adequate communication skills are a must. If you need help on an important project, open your mouth and ask your teacher a question. If you want to get into the National Honor Society, you better know how to write a polite, mature email explaining all of the details and due dates. Communication skills are also a key factor in establishing healthy connections and making friends with those around you. Think about it. If you had not verbally introduced yourself to your best friend back in kindergarten, you would likely not be friends with him or her today. In fact, you and your best friend would likely have a very limited understanding of who each other is as a person. Situations like that can be very inconvenient in the context of establishing connections. Hence, at the Thanksgiving dinner table this year, find a family member or family friend to that you can talk. Without interrupting, wait to introduce yourself so that you set up the foundation for a conversation. When the family member or friend introduces himself or herself in response, stay silent and listen to what he or she has to say. When appropriate, go ahead and provide some information about yourself, such as your interests, hobbies, and goals for the future. When expressing yourself, use your better judgment. Do not talk about things that you know are inappropriate to the circumstances, such as religion, politics, or gossip. By bringing these things up, the family member or family friend might become offended, leaving a negative impression that smudges your true image. Also, when a family member or family friend is talking, do not purposely interrupt him or her, and certainly do not make any disrespectful remarks. Always avoid using vulgar language. Ultimately, when having a conversation with a family member, family friend, or anyone in general, it never fails to follow the golden rule: Treat others the way that you would like to be treated.