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My favorite major holiday of the year is Thanksgiving. But I don’t like Thanksgiving for all the Hallmark-card reasons.

It’s great to have a day where you can stop and be thankful for various aspects of your life. It’s nice to spend time with friends and family that you haven’t seen in a while. And, of course, the food is always a plus. But those aspects of Thanksgiving are just icing on the cake.

While the conventional reasons make Thanksgiving pleasant, here are my real rationales for why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

1. The Timing: Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. It is the perfect time for a break between the tiny and practically nonexistent fall break and the highly coveted winter break. It’s also the official end of the perpetual midterm-exam season, so you have some time to recover your sanity before the dementia from finals sets in.

Not only that, but even though Thanksgiving is technically only one day, it is always celebrated over four days. That’s only one day’s worth of obligatory bonding time for three days worth of less structured fun.

2. The Purity: Thanksgiving is one of the few real holidays left when people come together in fellowship rather than fight over their own political, social or religious ideologies, even if it’s just for show. As much as diversity of backgrounds and thought should be appreciated, we can and should value commonalities too. Thanksgiving highlights similarities: everybody eats, everybody sleeps and everybody has something to be thankful for.

Unlike with greetings for religious holidays, you can wish anybody a “Happy Thanksgiving.” When you spread Thanksgiving cheer, the only assumption made is that the person you’re talking to can live a life that can be enjoyed. Thanksgiving is one day when we can pretend we all like each other — and actually mean it.

3. The Flexibility: Although having dinner with family on Thanksgiving is considered customary, there are no set rules governing the holiday. All you have to do to celebrate is be thankful.

Don’t want to make a turkey? Then don’t. No pressure. Make a chicken, make a turducken or don’t make anything at all. You can even eat marshmallow s’mores and watch your favorite sappy movies all day. In all of these situations, you would still be participating in the festivities.

4. The Leftovers: A 16-pound turkey can cost about $100 and stuffing from scratch may run you about $50 total, but the leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner are priceless. Leftovers perpetuate the satisfaction and joy of Thanksgiving dinner into the next week.

As a college student with a heightened appreciation for free, long-lasting food, I look forward to bringing Thanksgiving to school with all the refrigerated and portable stuff I can carry.

5. The Insanity: The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday, the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season. It’s also the day when people are temporarily allowed to lose their senses. I’ve never shopped on Black Friday, so I can’t relate to the alleged bliss that comes from the extreme retail therapy, but I have experienced what it is like to watch fully developed adults regress to animal-like beings.

It stops being funny when someone gets hurt, but up until that point, the news footage of Black Friday might as well be a comedy special or a reality television show. Watching middle-aged people ferociously tear through the aisles of large shopping malls in the wee hours of the morning looking for a Tickle Me Elmo is nothing short of hilarious.

Because of these reasons and more, Thanksgiving manages to be the most enjoyable holiday each year. If you’re over the holiday’s typical mushiness, hopefully you will have a new appreciation for the fourth Thursday in November.

Adrienne Edwards is a College sophomore from Queens, New York. Her e-mail address is Ad-Libs appears on Wednesdays.

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