Holiday birthdays may initially seem like a disadvantage, especially for those whose birthdays fall in December and who may be handed a card that joyously says, “Merry Birthday!” However, I feel especially lucky (and thankful, of course) to have a birthday near Thanksgiving.
Although Thanksgiving historically falls on the fourth Thursday of November, my birthday falls anywhere from the fourth Wednesday to the fourth Saturday. So my family always clumps the birthday celebration into the Thanksgiving festivities.
Here is a banquet of reasons as to why I love my Thanksgiving birthday.
Reason 1: It is a feast (with presents)
Many people celebrating their birthday are faced with quite the dilemma: what do you want to eat on your birthday? Thankfully, this decision has already been made for me.
Each year, I enjoy a table adorned with glazed turkey, homemade mashed potatoes, stuffing, a variety of casseroles, cranberries, buttered buns, and vegetables. My personal favorites are the stuffing and potatoes, which warm my soul. After the main course, there are pies galore, fruit bars, caramel with apples, and even more pies.
As if I wasn’t full enough, there’s always room for dessert, specifically birthday cake! My favorite of which is a marble cake with vanilla icing. After the feast, I only feel slightly sick, which is usually mitigated by opening presents.
Reason 2: All the other festivities — all for me, of course!
In my adolescence, I admit to being a little closed-minded about how my birthday and Thanksgiving coincided. I remember naively saying, “Thanks for coming to my birthday!” as relatives streamed into the dining room to grab a plate.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving festivities is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. I hail from rural Wisconsin, so it does not take much to amuse me. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, I was outright in awe of the grand spectacle. I distinctly remember gloating to my little sister; “Do they have a parade on your birthday, too?” She would roll her eyes, yet mine would remain glued to the television as I watched skyscraper-sized balloons of Barney, Shrek, and Hello Kitty glide across the screen. The parade remains one of my all-time favorite Thanksgiving traditions, and it truly is a birthday treat to watch the dancers, bands, and other performers put on a spectacular show each year in celebration of giving thanks. It is, of course, also some quality birthday entertainment.
Reason 3: The aftermath
After most of the food has been eaten, the football games have been watched, and the relatives have left, there is a particular moment of tranquility that is quintessential to each one of my Thanksgiving birthdays.
My family and I pack up the leftovers, clean up the house, and cozily settle on the couch in front of the fireplace. Usually, we accompany this downtime with a cliché holiday movie. A few hours later, the leftovers are quickly broken into and the feast has begun again, only this time with less stress about getting food on the table for everyone, allowing for more time to be spent with family.
Thoughts of putting up the Christmas tree loom overhead — which are usually never acted upon due to the essential Thanksgiving nap. With the Wisconsin winter, snow usually swirls across the sky, giving a glimpse of the rest of the holiday season. The fireplace simmers down — and so does the chaos of the day — and all is well. There is an indescribable peace in these Thanksgiving birthday evenings, and these moments of serenity remain to be the most fulfilling part of these coinciding celebrations.
Connor Romberg is a contributing writer for The Prospect from Winneconne, Wisconsin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.