Thanksgiving break is wholly predictable, and that’s why we love it.
Students seem to fall into the same pattern every Fall semester. We bound back after a long summer vacation, work hard and party even harder, use our fall break to do anything but relax and bam—first week of November and we’ve hit a major wall.
It is around the same time of year we desperately try to avoid pallid students hacking up a lung on the plaza while seeing the opinion pages of The Chronicle are slowly consumed by columns focused on anxiety and stress. We don’t even have time to focus on the most exciting part of the sports calendar, where we usher in a new college basketball season as football ramps up. Suffice it to say, November may be the toughest month of the year—if it weren’t for Thanksgiving.
The glorious thing about the countless hours in the library studying under fluorescent lighting and turning in more assignments than you thought imaginable is the sheer miracle that is surviving. We drag our limp and mentally anguished selves back home and are welcomed back with occasionally smothering amounts of attention and five glorious days of not thinking about Duke. And then there is the famed holiday itself.
Ah, the three F’s of Thanksgiving—food, family and football.
Try to find a holiday with a better meal. Don’t waste your time—you can’t. From warm turkey and gravy to stuffing (Dan’s favorite), mashed potatoes (Danielle’s) and cornbread, this coma-inducing spread is for many the inspiration to make it through the three toughest weeks of the academic year. Then there are the desserts—pies and cakes galore, but really just an excuse to eat pumpkin-fied versions of everything imaginable. In our last two years of school, there has only been one week between Thanksgiving and final exams—for many Duke students, this meal serves as the last bit of enjoyment before the hectic end to the semester.
Most family gatherings tend to be at least a little stressful. Put everyone together in one room, make them extra hungry and involve the production of a giant meal? Something is bound to run amok. And although there’s always going to be the fabled Thanksgiving crisis—we’ve seen everything from extreme turkey-carving incidents to mid-meal wardrobe malfunctions—enduring the inevitable chaos is part of what brings families closer in the holiday season. By the time everyone sits down to dinner, they forget the craziness and remember why they all came together.
And just in case you need something to distract you from the family insanity and it isn’t dinnertime yet, Thanksgiving is one of the premier days of the football calendar. By rule, the holiday must begin with a neighborhood football game in the morning. If you’re hungry but still want to save room for the big meal, cook up some buffalo wings around lunchtime for kickoff of Bears-Lions. East Coasters should be sitting down to dinner right after Eagles-Cowboys gets underway and West Coast dinnertime coincides with the start of Seahawks-49ers. Once the tryptophan starts kicking in, you’ll probably think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that promotes gluttony, induces familial spats and is bookended by lounging in front of a TV watching football—in other words, it’s right up our alley.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.