Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Think About Thanksgiving

If you visited the United States as someone unfamiliar with the tradition of Thanksgiving, what would your impression of the holiday be?

Might you think that Thanksgiving is synonymous with shopping?

Sadly, that's how it appears to me. Is "Black Friday" the real holiday or is Thanksgiving? Some stores open as early as 3 a.m. Friday morning. As unbelievable as that is, more incredible yet is that there will actually be people ready to shop that early! I am appalled and disgusted by this country's obsession with shopping. As you know if you've read my entry, Think About Stuff, I will not be shopping this weekend; instead, I will be donating bags of clothes and books and other "stuff" to organizations and charities that can use them.

The so-called "first Thanksgiving" took place most likely in 1621. The story goes that Native Americans shared their food and food knowledge with sick, hungry, and...well, unprepared, Pilgrims who were not ready for a cold hard winter. It was a gathering of people unfamiliar with each other and their customs. People who had food shared with those who did not. The Pilgrims were most likely thankful for this charity, even though they eventually forgot this helpfulness and tried to drive the Native Americans out of their own land (but that's another story for a different time...). Alas, the holiday has nothing to do with shopping.

Thanksgiving is not about finding the best deal on something that you probably do not need (and possibly will never use); it's about sharing food and time with family, friends, and, perhaps, complete strangers. It's also about being thankful for that food and those friends, family, and strangers--something we should be doing everyday anyway. The holiday is there to remind us of this selfless sentiment. How does "Black Friday" fit into the Thanksgiving plan?

It doesn't.

So, let's take Thanksgiving back from the commercialism and consumerism that surrounds it. What do you think? Are you with me?


  1. Right on! Worse even is that stores were open on Thanksgiving Day this year! If the public would only boycott shopping on Thanksgiving, it would not be worth the time and money for stores to be open on this day for giving thanks.

  2. Midnight reader,

    Thanks for your comment! I had not realized until after my post that so many stores were open on Thanksgiving Day (since I generally ignore all the ads and commercials). How sad that shopping has literally taken over Thanksgiving this year in this unprecedented way.