Thanksgiving Blues

 

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photo courtesy of ClipArt

by Rachel Giffin

Sandwiched between Halloween and Christmas, jack-o-lanterns and Christmas trees, and lost amidst the mad dashes to deliver candy to children on either October 31 or December 25, there is one day which seems to be mentioned less and less every year. What day is that? Black Friday?

Not really.

Thanksgiving is a time where kids can get a break for school to recharge just enough to finish exams, long-lost relatives who are maybe too busy to visit for Christmas can stop by, and college kids can visit home for a while before heading out again. Not only that, but it’s an excuse to spend hours and hours preparing glorious amounts of food. But what we seem to celebrate more than this is the day after: where stores open at ungodly hours, people rush in to buy items at bargain prices, and historic grocery-store wars ensue until far into the evening. It celebrates what Americans seem to value most: getting more.

Instead of being thankful, many of us are losing sleep over that deal we might get on Friday morning. It goes to show what a sad state society must be in for it to focus entirely on what it can get, rather than what can be given.

The good news is that many people have realized this unsettling trend and now refuse to go shopping on Black Friday. Studies done by a financing comparison site, Nerdwallet, found that most  deals advertised on Black Friday aren’t as good as they seem and people are catching on. Certain stores, like Nordstrom, are refusing to open their doors on Black Friday at all. As a spokesman for the company told the Huffington Post, “We just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time.”

So do many.

It’s sad, really, how many of us feel almost forced to hurry up Thanksgiving and get onto Christmas. No little kid, when asked what their favorite holiday is, will tell you “Thanksgiving” when Christmas is around and potential presents are on the line. But what can we do about this? Is there any way to change the connotation of Thanksgiving, or otherwise emphasize its meaning, without demeaning the other powerful holidays of the year?

I think so. Of course, it must be encouraged that getting presents isn’t what makes something a holiday. The most appealing factors of both Halloween and Christmas is that we get something for it, whether it’s candy or gifts (or sometimes both), whereas in Thanksgiving, there’s only food. We must find the joy in that, and the joy in giving what we have to who we can. Thanksgiving must be made special again because of its meaning. It is a time where we look not at what we want, but at what we have: our friends, our family, our livelihoods, our talents, our pets and everything else that has come to us not by our doing but by divine providence. In doing so, we’re less inclined to rush out the door Friday morning, and more apt to staying at home and enjoying what we’ve been given.

Because, after all, the best things in life are free.

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