Thanksgiving Has a Purpose

Some Leesville students say that the meaning of Thanksgiving is to spend time with family. Over the years, with the help of Black Friday and Media, Thanksgiving is not what it used to be. Photo courtesy of Sarah Stoflet via PiZap.

Thanksgiving has been a tradition in America since the age of the pilgrims. It is a time for everyone to reflect on what they are thankful and grateful for, and to spend time with family that we don’t see often.

A few people say that Thanksgiving has lost some of the holiday’s importance over the years or that it is over-hyped. Others may say that it is an important holiday that needs to be taken more seriously.

“At the end of the day, we have dinner and talk about what we are thankful for and we eat a lot of food and we gather around with other families and just share thanks,” said Maryam Teimouri, a junior.

Everyone’s Thanksgiving looks a little different. Most Thanksgivings end with a delicious turkey dinner. While the sides may be different, depending on culture, preference, and diet, almost everyone has some version of a turkey dinner to give thanks around.

The main question is why. Why do people gather around a big table of food every year? What is the meaning of this tradition?

“The purpose of Thanksgiving is to spend time with family, eat lots of food, and be thankful for what you have, and I would say yes, that is achieved,” said Melanie Hupp, a freshman. Most people would say almost the same thing when they are asked what the purpose of Thanksgiving is. The common answer is family and being thankful, hence the name “Thanksgiving”.

“I see why it’s important, but it’s not as important as it should be,” said Bri Tilley, a junior. A common belief is that Thanksgiving just isn’t that important anymore or people don’t go about the holiday the way they are supposed to, which is giving thanks for everything they’ve been blessed with. They believe that this is the issue with our generation, and that we are too caught up in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade or figuring out Black Friday plans that we forget why we are celebrating this holiday.

While some may be convinced that everyone but them treat Thanksgiving in this way, that is simply not true: “To my family, it’s really important because we get to spend quality time with all of our family, like, we come together and enjoy a meal…. I think the purpose is to get together with family you don’t really get to see on a regular basis and just catch up and spend time together and just be thankful,” said Mea Blackmon, a junior.

“I think it is a big deal because I feel like all of us don’t spend enough time to think about what we’re thankful for, and Thanksgiving is a day where we’re reminded, so it’s a good day to think about, you know, what we have,” said Teimouri.

That is why Thanksgiving is so important. It gives us a chance to reflect on how much we really have, which is something we don’t do often. The reflection of blessings is what many people say is ignored about Thanksgiving, although it is the main idea.

Another tradition around Thanksgiving that every American is familiar with and most are guilty of is Black Friday shopping. It is amazing when we can go from store to store, each having major sales. The thought that doesn’t occur to many people is why we head out, right after talking about what we’re thankful for, and go crawl over other people for the latest flat screen TV. It completely disregards the purpose of Thanksgiving. This could be why Thanksgiving has lost it’s importance.

“I guess I’ve never really thought of that,” said Teimouri in response to Black Friday affecting Thanksgiving.

Another way Black Friday disregards Thanksgiving is the fact that Black Friday starts earlier and earlier every year, even as early as 6 o’clock Thanksgiving night. In order for these stores to be open, there has to be people working, therefore giving up time that they should be using to eat pumpkin pie and apple cider with their family.

While Black Friday shopping may be fun, people need to be a little more careful with how they go about shopping, and not forget about the meaning of the holiday they just celebrated.

In the end, Thanksgiving is a special holiday that should be taken more in the perspective of what it was meant to be: a day to reminisce with family about what you are thankful for. This is how Thanksgiving can regain the importance it may have lost.


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