Opinion: Thanksgiving overlooked by commercialization

Ria Parikh | Staff Writer

As soon as candy-collecting comes to a close, trees, ornaments, lights, and special food flood the world around us. In doing so, however, the holiday that requires no decoration is lost.

You are not the only one who forgot Thanksgiving is on Thursday, nor the only one to have renamed it pre-Black Friday. Thanksgiving is one of the only holidays in America that does not involve lavish decorations, lights, and late-night parties with friends. Thanksgiving involves a mountain of food and maybe a casual party with family or close friends. That is why we ignore it: we have let the value of family time deteriorate.

By family, I do not mean only blood relatives. They are, of course, family, but I also mean chosen family–the people who you are so close to, you describe them as like family. In any sense of the word, Thanksgiving should be a time to share with those people.

I have heard stories of people camping outside stores as early as 8 p.m. Thursday night, just to be the first one in the store and in possession of the golden item that year. I get it, it’s exhilarating to trample each other and prove just how greedy we really are. But the people who are willing to do that–and there are quite a few–are willing to push spending time with the people who care about them to the back burner. They should be at home cooking food, hanging out with their cousins, nieces and nephews, or at the very least sitting in front of TV in the presence of others, not sitting pathetically outside a store they never shop at, with a tent and probably a cold.

Thanksgiving has become a commercial bookmark, a way to exploit sales. CMO by Adobe said Walmart reported in 2013 that they had around 22 million shoppers on Thanksgiving night. Thanksgiving night. Twenty-two million people would rather run around a store that they go to about once a week and already offers frequent deals, than spend time thinking about what they are thankful for and what they do have.

The values of the holiday have been overshadowed by the exhilaration of running around a store and throwing cheap, random items in a cart at 2 a.m.

Thanksgiving may not be in our faces with lights and distinct color schemes, but the simplicity of the holiday is what makes it so memorable. When we are sitting with our food and family and thinking about the cheap flat screen TV we are going to wrestle 100 other people for later that night, the whole purpose of Thanksgiving is ruined.

Whether we like it or not, Black Friday is on our calendar. We can not change that. We can, however, change how we handle it. Shopping will always be here. Deals and sales will always be rolling around the corner. But, time spent with people that matter is limited.

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