I have noticed a disturbing trend occurring more each year throughout the month of November: the disappearance of Thanksgiving. When I was younger, the month of November was defined by Thanksgiving. Granted, I had the elementary Pilgrims and Indians dress up day and feast to look forward to for the entire month, but even throughout the excitement of getting to dress up after Halloween, the premise of Thanksgiving was never forgotten. In recent years, however, I have noticed the month of November is no longer defined by the holiday celebrating thankfulness; instead, it has been overshadowed by a holiday not even celebrated until a month after. Christmas seems to arrive earlier and earlier every year, pushing Thanksgiving further from the holiday limelight, but not because the good news of Christ’s birth is spreading.
If you reflect on your Thanksgiving, did you spend more time pondering what you are truly thankful for, or what sales you were going to make sure to attend at the crack of dawn the following Friday? With the Black Friday hype getting bigger and bigger every year, it’s easy to overlook a simple holiday like Thanksgiving. After all, there are no presents, no bright light displays to see, and, in typical Illinois fashion of late, no snow. So how do we find enjoyment in grandma’s dried out turkey or her questionable pumpkin pie? I’d love to assure you that next year the turkey will be moist and the pumpkin pie less lumpy, but the simple answer is, it won’t. But by looking for enjoyment in this year’s Butterball turkey, you have missed the point of gathering around the table with your family and friends in the first place. Even if the turkey disintegrates the second it hits your tongue, be thankful that your grandmother was around another year to make it. We have become so distracted by the objects we associate with the holidays that we scarcely notice the holiday itself.
As the years pass, I notice America moving further and further away from the real meaning behind the holidays, and Thanksgiving is no exception. Each year, more and more businesses than ever before are adorning their halls with garland and Christmas lights during the first week of November. This continual focus on Christmas two months before it even occurs is overshadowing one of the most selfless holidays we celebrate today, turning it into a holiday overshadowed by greed. America has become so blinded by knocking out their Christmas list at 2 a.m. on Black Friday that when many stores opened their doors on the holiday itself this year, shoppers were all too eager to leave their Thanksgiving dinners early in search of a killer deal. But with the Christmas commercials airing earlier and the deals getting better each year, who can blame them? As the Christmas holiday quickly approaches, I urge you to not get caught up in the commercial bliss that Christmas has become. Instead, celebrate the real reason for the season, Christ’s birth. Consider it practice for when Thanksgiving rolls around next year. If more people would suppress the urge to dive into the Christmas season early, they could enjoy Thanksgiving beyond the dinner table and celebrate the holiday for its true purpose, thankfulness.