Tag Archives: thanksgiving

The First Week of November

The phony cobwebs are swept away,

But the carved pumpkins have yet to rot

And still sit on the steps in front of many houses.

The leftover candy, marked down after Halloween,

Has been cleared from the stores,

Their festive designs gone for another year,

But the children who spent their night walking

From door to door now have their own hoards

And like dragons they stand guard over their goodies

Waiting for their parents to turn their backs,

So that they can grab another piece of chocolate,

And keep their sugar high going strong.

 

Meanwhile, families make plans for Thanksgiving,

Searching for recipes to flaunt in front of friends and families,

Or thinking up excuses to avoid visiting in-laws.

There are still pumpkin spice variations of every product that could manage it,

Including those that should never have tried such a crossover.

The trees are still mostly covered in red and gold,

Though more leaves fall with every breeze,

And the ground is in desperate need of a rake.

Football season is in full swing,

And every sports bar is playing at least three games on any given night.

Charlie Brown will be making his way onto the small screen once again,

Forever famous for falling while trying to kick a ball.

 

Fall is heavy in the air.

Halloween has barely faded,

And Thanksgiving looms on the horizon.

And yet as I listen to the radio I can already hear them,

Christmas carols, playing through the first week of November.

Thanksgiving: Love it or hate it?

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and for some people it’s an exciting holiday, one of nice family get togethers and the sharing of love and great food. For others, it’s a holiday to be dreaded, dealing with racist and homophobic extended relatives and having to answer the same damn questions over and over again. No matter what your circumstance is, Thanksgiving is happening and you’re going to have to deal with people that you don’t like. However, here are some tips to deal with awkward and uncomfortable family encounters.

  1. Force your way through small talk

Dealing with relatives can be easy or hard. It all depends on how you approach the situation. Small talk is something that I, personally, can’t stand. It’s superficial and boring. I don’t really care how your job has been or how your snot-nosed child is doing. I know that they really don’t care about the classes I’m taking in college or what I hope to do in the future, but for some reason, society says it’s what people do to be polite, to be conversational.

To get through introductions and small talk with your family, answer one of their questions as quickly as you can and then excuse yourself to the bathroom. Trust me, it works every time. If they attempt to approach you again, excuse yourself once more by saying, “I have to help my mom in the kitchen.” Not only do you get away from their stupid questions, you also are perceived as helpful and kind to your mother. What more could you ask for?

  1. Ignore or call out you bigot relatives

Depending on your relatives and your personality, these two options are up to you. If you’re shy, don’t feel like starting a fight, or you know your relatives would react badly to any sort of argument to their dumb comments, simply ignore them. Depending on how old they are, trying to change the mind of your 92-year-old grandma on why you dating a black person is okay is a pointless argument. She’s old and was brought up in a certain way of thinking, just like you were. At this point, it doesn’t really matter.

On the other hand, if you are sick and tired of hearing the same bigotry that you do every year, stand up to them. Make them understand why they are wrong and why it needs to stop. Even if you simply say that their comments make you uncomfortable, without saying why or how it affects you directly, it should be enough to shut them up. Do whatever feels right to you.

Do you have a crazy family? Photo from pinterest
Do you have a crazy family? Photo from pinterest

Thanksgiving is a holiday you either love or hate. You can choose to love it if you pick your battles and know when enough is enough. The point of Thanksgiving is to be love and give love, be thankful for what you have and who you have it with. Stupid relatives with dumb views shouldn’t affect the meaning of the holiday. Have fun and tell those bigots where to stick it.

Why fall is the best season

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“I love walking on the orangey green leaves and hearing the crunchy sound, filling you with memories of when you used to jump into a pile of leaves as a child.”

“No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace, as I have seen in one autumn face.” This statement by John Donne is perfectly valid in my world. Autumn (or fall) is the best season, there’s so many reasons to love it! The leaves are changing colors, it symbolizes a new change in your semester here at Radford, the atmosphere is so calm and helpful for days you want to stay inside and read a book and drink coffee. Also holidays are just around the corner.

What I love about autumn is the beauty that it holds, the freshness in the air, the chills after a sip of hot chocolate. I love walking on the orangey-green leaves and hearing the crunchy sound, filling you with memories of when you used to jump into a pile of eaves as a child. Other things I love about fall are comfy sweaters, pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, pumpkin everything, rainy days, new TV shows, football season for the sports fan and the calm before the holidays!

Speaking of holidays, Halloween and Thanksgiving are the best in my book. I loved dressing up and going to trick or treating, and we get to go back home and see our pets and family again and finally eat real food after two long months of studying hard, when you find yourself around the table with you family and closest friends. It’s very special not only being with them, you also get to reflect on yourself and show your gratitude towards the things you’ve gained for this year. Other reasons to love fall are that you aren’t sweating like crazy walking to your classes that are so far away from each other, haunted houses, one word: boots, being able to be okay with being lazy and of course winter is coming which means snow and Christmas!

Fall is a new start of endings, wearing scarves and cozy coats, and the sunsets are beautiful, making gingerbread, and pumpkin cookies, and going home for Thanksgiving. There’s absolutely no argument to this. Can anything top that?

All Things Pumpkin

Everybody sees at least a minimum of 10 “fall” posts on various social media a day. It’s a pumpkin spice latte (PSL), a tree with color-changing leaves, or an Outfit of the Day (OOTD) with riding boots and a scarf. No matter what it is, they seem to be the sure sign that fall has finally arrived. And you know what fall means? Pumpkin EVERYTHING.

Pumpkin candles, lotion, soap, bread, drinks, sauces, snacks, the list goes on and on. Some people might think that others like pumpkin stuff because it’s “in”, because “everybody else loves fall and pumpkin things”. Well, I am here to tell you that may be the case for some people but not all. I have to admit, I’m one of those people who is obsessed with fall, but not for the reasons you may think. Yes I love my pumpkin cupcake candle and wallflower, but I also love the color of the trees changing in the mountains.

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“It’s a pumpkin spice latte (PSL), a tree with color-changing leaves, or an Outfit of the Day (OOTD) with riding boots and a scarf.” Photo By: Danielle Johnson

Growing up, I learned to appreciate fall and quickly it became my very favorite season of all. I’m always in awe of the beauty that comes with fall. Even when you take a step back and think about how fall is really all of these things dying to get ready for winter, even then death is beautiful. The mountains have always been my favorite place and will always be. Driving through seeing the leaves fall, the colors change, and summer come to an end is still exciting to me. I love cooler weather, I love long sleeve shirts and light weight jackets.

For me, my love of pumpkin comes from my love of fall. Pumpkins are symbolic of fall, that’s when they grow and are harvested. You don’t see pumpkins popping up when spring rolls around because that’s not when they are in season. Just as flower buds and blooms show the world spring is here, pumpkins reveal it is time for fall. Although I’m not big on PSL (I’m not a coffee drinker either), I love everything pumpkin.

I love carving pumpkins. Pumpkin pie is my favorite pie. Pumpkin everything seems to remind me of family and happiness. Pumpkins are symbolic of fall but also of many other things; pumpkins lead up to Thanksgiving, which is another reason I love them. Seeing a pumpkin reminds me that there’s always something to be thankful for. They’re reminders that this is just one simple season, not only on a calendar, but also in our lives. There’s always something so simple and comforting about a pumpkin; even though the life span of a pumpkin is very short.

So when you see someone post about their first or second or even 25th PSL, just try to think “maybe pumpkins are important to them”. I know it sounds silly and some do it because it’s a fad. That happens and there will always be those people who do it because it’s trendy. But most people, who have a real love of fall, have a real love of pumpkins.

Break-Up Fall with a Fall Break?

For many years, RU has given their students a break from classes over the entire week of the Thanksgiving holiday. Many other schools receive a fall break in October, or earlier in their semester, as well as getting off for national holidays. RU does not receive a break in October, nor does the school allow students to have the day off for holidays such as Labor Day. But do students mind the way their breaks are set up?

I set out to interview different RU students about thoughts on the idea of having a fall break prior to Thanksgiving. One student, Alhaji Bah (better known as “Baha”), is a transfer student at RU who is beginning his senior year at the university. Baha previously attended Virginia Union University where he and his fellow students received a fall break every October and also enjoying Thanksgiving break.

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“I feel like with all the knowledge that we get, all the homework, all the projects and exams, we as students need just a couple days off of school to give us a break.” Photo by: Sydney Crawson

“I feel like with all the knowledge that we get, all the homework, all the projects and exams, we as students need just a couple days off of school to give us a break,” stated Baha. From this statement, I gathered a trend from the multiple students I spoke to.

Another student at RU, Katelyn McKeen, a third year junior, didn’t care much about when a break was or how she would spent her time away from classes, as long as she had that time off.

“Having classes and work for so many hours each day is mentally draining sometimes. It would be nice to have a break from the stress,” she said.

How would a fall break at RU affect the professors and faculty? Professors rely on a strict academic calendar to plan their classes; unpredicted snow-storms that cause campus shut-downs directly affect their teaching plans. Would a fall break have the same type of outcome? Some faculty on hourly wages at the university wouldn’t have money from those particular days to rely on, on top of losing hours and money from the Thanksgiving holiday.

As I gathered through my casual chats, there are many differing opinions on the subject. Many RU students cherish the idea of having a fall break at the same time as the surrounding Virginia schools so they could spend their time off with friends attending elsewhere. But, when told their week-long Thanksgiving break would be shortened with the addition of an October break they gave second thought to the fall break idea.

The breaks implemented through Radford University’s academic calendar have worked without issue for the school for many years now, bringing me to the conclusion that our typical Thanksgiving break is here to stay. Generally, speaking on behalf of the interviewed students, that was quite enough for them.

Black Friday: Heaven or hell?

The day after Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday” and has been around for many years. Normally, Black Friday involves different retail stores opening around 6 a.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving with spectacular sales on their items. Even though retailers lower the price of their items anywhere from 30 to 90 percent, this is the day of the year they make the most money. Continue reading Black Friday: Heaven or hell?

Family: You gotta love them

Once a year, families gather to share a meal and talk about what’s new in their lives. They discuss their trials and tribulations and give thanks that they’re together this year. This sounds great, but most college students know that this aspect of the holiday inevitably leads to uncomfortable questions from relatives. Continue reading Family: You gotta love them

Creeper Thursday: Why I didn’t shop

I’ve always been a big fan of Thanksgiving as its own distinct and unique holiday. I loved the kindergarten feasts where we all dressed up in construction-paper Pilgrim hats and grocery-bag Indian costumes, and hand turkeys were one of the few art forms I had complete mastery over. Even today, I live for the return of my great-grandmother’s pumpkin pie recipe and my uncle’s world-famous green bean casserole (who knew the addition of hard-boiled eggs could be so randomly delicious?). On the day itself, I get up early to watch the entire Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and go for my special Thanksgiving-morning run. I love visualizing every house busily absorbed in meal preparations and general holiday merriment — traditions being followed and created all over the place. Continue reading Creeper Thursday: Why I didn’t shop

From our perspective: Lay off, fat man

Every year, it seems the holiday season starts a little earlier than the last.  Stores are stocked with Christmas decorations by Halloween and seasonal music can be heard before Thanksgiving.  Even the holiday shopping season kicked off earlier than usual.   We at Whim believe the holiday season needs to stay with its proper time of the year before it begins to lose its meaning and significance. Continue reading From our perspective: Lay off, fat man

Black Friday woes

When I think about Thanksgiving I think about food, football and my family. More importantly, I think about everything I’m thankful for in my life, which is what the holiday is meant to be about. Over the years I’ve noticed that more people are getting on the Black Friday bandwagon, and I’m afraid that Americans in general are beginning to forget what the meaning of Thanksgiving really is.

I first noticed this over the five years I worked retail. Every year the lines got longer, customer demands were higher, and we opened our doors earlier. Then it hit rock bottom this year, when stores started announcing that they’d open their doors on Thanksgiving Day for Black Friday deals. People camped out at the Best Buy near my house over 48 hours before Thanksgiving even started. On Thanksgiving, Facebook told me that six of my friends posted about Thanksgiving while 17 posted about Black Friday. I see where our priorities are, America.

Apple Store on Fifth Avenue on Black Friday in New York. Photo from Creative Commons.

Even if you haven’t experienced Black Friday firsthand, I’m sure you’ve seen videos of it and have heard stories about it. Mobs of people line up outside of stores then charge through the doors the moment they open in order to beat the crowd and get miniscule deals on things we want but really don’t need, like designer clothes, TVs and fancy soap. At least those are my fondest memories of America’s favorite consumer holiday.

Those Black Fridays were the most miserable times of my retail career. One year I had two jobs at the mall and had to work over 24 hours because of the midnight madness. There were moments when I was pretty sure I was going to die. There also were moments when I was pretty sure I was going to kill a customer. Let it be known that I am the ultimate people pleaser. I would bend over backwards for customers to make sure they got what they wanted and I never got commission for it. But these Black Friday shoppers can’t be pleased. Retailers will run out of things, customers will get angry and all hell will break loose. Nobody can help these greedy monsters.

Black Friday Campers on Thanksgiving Day. Photo from Creative Commons.

Not only are people greedier, but they’re meaner, too. The Detroit Free Press reported that at least 24 people were injured in a series of incidents at retailers (primarily Wal-Marts) on Black Friday. The most notable was the incident at a Wal-Mart in California, where a woman pepper sprayed about 20 other customers supposedly to get an Xbox game.

Our society is beginning to value possessions more than we value our loved ones, and it’s disgusting. Thanksgiving is supposed to be about being thankful for everything we have, especially the people in our lives, and not about going out and buying new things. Let’s be thankful for what we have instead of constantly wishing we had more.