Thanksgiving not so much about giving thanks anymore

by Joana Raices, COLUMNIST

15 November 2017



It’s Thanksgiving day, and you have just finished saying grace with your family over the enormous holiday meal. Half an hour later, people are in front of the T.V. watching football or passed out on the couch induced in a food coma.

All is well. Family and friends are together, the year-long awaited dinner was just as delicious as always, and the weather outside creates a perfect cozy indoor environment. This time of year is meant for thankfulness and joy, it reminds us–as the solemn prayers of grace do as well–of all of the blessings in our life, as well as the things we should never take for granted.

But let this settle in:

As the later hours approach, you get ready to go out into the cold to go scavenging for the best deals on the items you’ve been keeping your eye on, and you aren’t alone. As you travel from store to store, you see the recurring image of carts stockpiled with the latest video games, people wrestling for the last pair of Nike shoes, others shoving one another to be first in line for that doorbuster deal.

According to a study conducted by the National Retail Federation, 99 million people planned on shopping on the evening of Thanksgiving going into Black Friday morning in 2016. Although the numbers have slightly gone down since 2015, Black Friday is still considered one of biggest holidays of revenue for retailers across the nation.

The spirit of the holidays should reflect our appreciation for the things we own, both materialistically and spiritually. So why do people fight over the last 32-inch flat screen T.V. that’s marked down for under $100?

There is a time and a place for these luxuries, and that time should not interrupt what the spirit of this season is really about: family and gratitude.We need to bring back the idea that Black Friday is a day in itself. Black Friday should not turn into Black Thanksgiving Evening.

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Instead of focusing on family and appreciation, we focus on the need for tangible belongings, to the extent that some people physically harm others due to their greedy ambition to find a “good deal.” The flaw that comes with retailers giving consumers a good “doorbuster” is the disheartening actions of people over items that cost less to produce than what they are being sold for.

The idea is so contradictory, yet people have been going out on Thanksgiving night for years. For some, it seems absurd. For others, it’s the perfect head start for holiday shopping. Stores are now open on Thanksgiving day, whereas three years ago people would just be gathering for dinner at that exact time. Families aren’t whole at the dinner table anymore,  a sibling or a parent have to go to work halfway through the evening due to their retail employer participating in the Black Friday festivities.

We need to do our part and manage self control by waiting until Black Friday morning in order to preserve the spirit on Thanksgiving evening. Retailers need to do their part and manage their advertisement to lessen the extremities and urgencies of sales, and open only on Black Friday morning to preserve the holiday spirit for both their employees and their consumers.  We need to reflect more on what we do have, and not on what we don’t. Instead of indulging on clothing, people need to indulge on family time and appreciation.

The actions of many reflect the ideologies of our society, and if it’s so important for us to possess the latest iPhone, the latest game console, or the latest, trendiest toy that we demand to own it only hours after saying aloud how grateful we are for what we have, then we have a problem.

We need to understand that quality family and friend time can’t be refunded.



Joana Raices is a columnist for Oswego East High School’s online news magazine the HOWL

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