Thanksgiving is a holiday that is rooted in tradition. I believe it’s an opportunity to give thanks for what you have while sharing it with those that are close to you. As far back as I can remember, every Thanksgiving for me has been a routine event. I wake up and watch the Macy's and McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parades in the morning and have dinner with my family in the evening. These simple actions have meaning to me because they have become synonymous with tradition.

Thanksgiving began in 1621 when the Pilgrims decided to celebrate surviving their first winter in their new colony. Native Americans and Pilgrims were able to partake in a meal together and share a common theme of thankfulness. Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War in 1863. It has strong, rooted footing in American history. However, Thanksgiving is becoming part of the past.

Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be. I have noticed in the past few years it has become a holiday about greed and the need for more stuff rather than being thankful for the things you already have right in front of you. Thanksgiving has become a launching pad for consumerism. Consumerism has stomped out the idea of embracing what you have and promoted the hunger for more.

Thanksgiving is no longer an honored holiday. It has been overshadowed by Black Friday and the holiday season. Stores are often adorned with holiday decor weeks before Thanksgiving. I realize Christmas time is the biggest retail season of the year when compared to Thanksgiving, but is it really necessary for businesses to begin opening stores at 6 p.m. on the day of Thanksgiving?

Businesses that open on Thanksgiving day take away the symbolism and sacredness that the holiday entails. I often find it idiotic that people wait all night in the cold to get a Tickle Me Elmo or a Cabbage Patch Doll. With time, these fads of certain products fade out, and new products will attract the minds of buyers. What will never fade, as fads often do, is the family and friends that you have. Thanksgiving is a day to embrace what is irreplaceable. Specifically, this includes the people that are closest to you.

Black Friday often boosts the U.S. economy to end the final weeks of the year positively. However, I believe that Thanksgiving should be given its fair share. The day of Thanksgiving should be honored in its entirety. I have found it pleasing to know that some stores have decided not to open on Thanksgiving at all. Costco, Sam’s Club, Neiman Marcus, H&M, Marshalls and Home Depot are just a few stores that have decided to stay closed on Thanksgiving day.

Thanksgiving has been part of American culture for centuries. How we honor the day is what has evolved over the past few decades. I believe Thanksgiving is a day to realize what has been given to you. Taking time to look at what you have in life helps you appreciate these “gifts” even more. Unlike Christmas presents, these are the gifts of life that can’t be exchanged. Regardless of what those gifts are or what you have, it’s important to spend the day with the people you care about the most. Luckily for us, we have a whole week off rather than a day to think about this.

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.

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