Let Out Your Holiday Cheer

By Katie Pusz

It’s early November and I’m just starting to see WSU students coming back into focus after their Halloween hangovers. Trust me, as a holiday geek who embraces each of, what I like to call “the big three” (Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas), I understand! The past couple of weeks have been fun but, as with all good things in life, those lasting memories came with a cost. Your homework has been half-heartedly completed,—yes, your professor noticed— your biology exam score could’ve been better if you hadn’t packed three weeks of lecture knowledge into a twelve-hour cram before the test, and you’ve struggled through each torturous lecture with one eye barely open because you stayed a little later than expected at last night’s party after realizing the costume winners weren’t being announced until the end… and, let’s face it, your chances of winning were pretty, darn good! Not to mention you’re probably still a little lethargic after gorging yourself with all of your kid sibling’s candy—and no, not all of it, only the good stuff! After sending your body, mind and academics through the wringer the past couple weeks, you’re ready to settle back down into your stable routines and put all that you’ve got into these last few weeks of class. My fun times, however, are just beginning.

As much as I enjoy Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two holidays that really make the gears in my heart start to turn! It’s the time of year when a magic force encases the world and all I can see, feel and breathe are the holidays. And I know there are a handful people reading this who whole-heartedly understand and feel the impact of what I just said, and another two handfuls who rolled their eyes and yawned.

Of course, the primary focus right now is Thanksgiving. For those who actually need to check their calendars and set a Google reminder for the holidays because there are “more important things to worry about,” Thanksgiving is Nov. 28. Whether you’re one of “those” people, one of me, or someone who doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving and believes it to be a time of universal insanity, the stereotypical associations with Thanksgiving often include savory turkey, touchdowns, tackles and food comas. However, my idea is quite the opposite: it’s the preparation of Thanksgiving. It’s coordinating a menu, counting the guests, shopping for everything and piecing it all together in such a manner that even I consider it a little over-the-top. This is the time where my academic focus starts to slide and my heart keeps telling me to continuously check my emails and compare the price of turkey from one store to the next. To many, this is the mindset of a crazy woman. To me, it’s the only way to do Thanksgiving.

Lucky for everyone who has to put up with my holiday irrationalities, there is a moment of “rightness” in the world when I put my crazy away and just absorb the magic that someone else has created, and that magic projects from the infamous Thanksgiving Day Parade! The parade, to me, is one of those silly, childhood traditions that you’re not willing to give up simply because you’ve aged. It’s not just a tradition, but an actual part of who I am. And although I’ve only been around to experience its magic for a little under two decades, I still treasure the parade’s history and how this critical part of my life came to be.

87 years ago in snowy Manhattan, Macy’s department store (Hudson’s at the time) launched the first Thanksgiving Day Parade. Coordinators and founders of the parade doubted it would turn into an annual festivity because of its timing (who in their right mind would want to watch a parade on Thanksgiving?). They were proved wrong when 8,000 people volunteered to be active in the two-and-a-half mile parade, where every street corner was filled with people and families of all ages who were crowding as close to the street as they could to see floats, clowns, giant balloons and, what I believe to be the coolest thing in parade history, the animals from Central Park Zoo in New York. Simultaneously, our beloved Detroit was celebrating with a Thanksgiving Day Parade of its own, and the two legacies have been welcomed into families as annual traditions ever since.

As a WSU student, you know there is plenty to learn and love about the city of Detroit: the Tigers, Hockey Town, historical landmarks, colorful leaves, Kid Rock, Eminem and way too many other places, people and things to list. As wonderful as all that may be, one of the biggest and best advantages is being walking distance from the Thanksgiving Day Parade! It kicks off on Woodward Ave. and Kirby Street at 8:45 a.m., and ends at Woodward and Congress.

Whether you’re a holiday honey-bee, such as myself, or someone who simply puts up with this time of year because there’s no way of avoiding it, I hope one day you’re able to embrace the season as your own, to absorb all of the magic it has to offer, and to celebrate it all with a smile in your heart.

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