Why do Americans bother with Thanksgiving?
The American holiday of Thanksgiving is about to take place, one which began with the pilgrims and Indians sharing a feast to give thanks for a good harvest. As time progressed and we moved away from an agrarian-based economy, the holiday became a day of giving thanks for the blessings in our lives and spending time with our families. And now Thanksgiving has evolved yet again–it’s become more of a “shopping holiday” with people abandoning the family dinner table and rushing to the stores to buy things for Christmas, because after all, the holidays are all about materialism, right?
For the longest time, Thanksgiving once supplanted Christmas as my personal favorite holiday since it was the only one that wasn’t commercialized. Christmas was all about presents, Valentine’s Day about chocolate and flowers, and the Fourth of July about fireworks. Thanksgiving, though, encapsulated for me what the holidays should really be about–spending time with family and friends, enjoying a good meal, and reflecting on positive things.
As a kid, I always thought it was crazy for people to line up outside of stores for Christmas sales starting at 6 a.m. Then it got moved up to 4 a.m. Then 3 a.m. I and my family thought the stores were really pushing it when they started opening at midnight on Thanksgiving night, but this year Macy’s and JCPenney will be open at 8 p.m. on Thursday while many Wal-Mart stores will be open 24 hours.
What happened to Thanksgiving? Have we become so greedy as a society to sacrifice one holiday for the sake of another? (And we Americans have so precious little time off to begin with.) What is more important–going to the store to buy something for our loved ones or actually spending quality time with them? And what about those store employees who no longer have Thanksgiving Day off? Keep in mind that what goes around comes around. Don’t be surprised if one day Thanksgiving becomes another holiday like Columbus Day and Veterans Day that everyone knows about but nobody has. Why can’t we all just boycott the stores on Thanksgiving and go back to the basics of family and turkey?