Thanksgiving. A day dedicated to being grateful for everything we have and spending time with family and friends. It is a time of laughter, food, fun, and usually, some family fights here and there. The build-up to the day is intense with cooking, cleaning, and preparing for the influx of family into the host’s house ready to eat all the food they possibly can. Thanksgiving is the day we indulge ourselves in food and give thanks for all the people in our lives and the experiences we have had. What rudely interrupts the day of gratitude is a day meant to buy everything we wish we had for cheap- Black Friday. The build-up for Black Friday is much more intense than that for Thanksgiving, with ads of sales at various different stores beginning weeks before the actual day. The day can be marked as the unofficial start to the Christmas season. For some families, their Thanksgiving Day involves leaving the dinner table to go begin their Christmas shopping and find the best deals.
The meanings of these two consecutive days completely contrast each other. One day meant to give thanks for what is in our lives, and the next (sometimes spilling over into Thanksgiving Day) is meant to indulge ourselves in material goods. The meaning completely flips from giving thanks to trampling over each other in order to get the best-priced shirt or the hottest toy. We have to ask why are so many people willing to leave their family and friends to go shopping? I think it can lead back to many reasons. One reason is that as much as Thanksgiving is about gratitude, food, and family, there are also usually many family fights. Some people may just need to leave the house and cool off after a mishap with a loved one; it can happen and it is a completely valid reason to go out. For some, shopping might be the way to calm down and come back rejuvenated and ready for dessert. However, I think there is also a larger reason why we run from family into the arms of stores and malls all over the country.
I believe, sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have the experiences, the family, and the objects in our lives. Originally, Thanksgiving was a time to be exactly that, thankful. But with stores and society whispering in our ears that we need more clothes, makeup, shoes, or electronics, we become less interested in what we already have and more intrigued by what we don’t. We try to find ways to get what we need to make ourselves look better, and Black Friday is the solution. Everyone forgets about being thankful and focuses on getting everything they need to make themselves look better.
We need to reevaluate our attitudes around Thanksgiving. Are we focused on “thank you” or “I need that now?” We need to shift our focus back to giving thanks. Getting a head start on Christmas shopping is never a bad thing, but everyone needs to take a break, and Thanksgiving is that break. Next year, before you run out the door to the closest mall, think about all the things you could miss out on with your loved ones while you are gone. The materials will be there another time, and they will fade anyway; your loved ones are forever. And an even better compromise would be to wait for Cyber Monday!
By: Emily Ash’19, Co-Executive Editor-in-Chief