Macys Thanksgiving Parade 2016

Give Thanks for Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday has transformed since the first celebration in 1621 of a harvest feast shared between both the Wampanoag Indians and Plymouth colonists. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

The day holds a much deeper meaning than just the endless food options. It is a day to take a break from constantly running around with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Unfortunately, we sometimes forget the importance of sitting around the table to make new memories with loved ones. In our modern society, families and friends rarely have time to sit down together and share a meal to speak about life and their daily activities. 

In the past, Thanksgiving was a holiday during which all the malls and stores were closed for business. However, nowadays there are many exceptions to this rule due to consumerism. The revenue of businesses has become more important than time spent with loved ones. Thanksgiving meals are now shortened due to people’s craze to get the best deal. Also, many family members now must go to work on a day that was previously regarded as a pious holiday.

After World War II, consumer spending became a powerful driving force in the U.S. economy. Holiday spending has grown in importance during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hence, the implementation of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The new normal for Thanksgiving celebrations in America now consists of missing family members or shortened meals due to the need to return to business as usual. Nicole Gallagher, a junior psychology student, said, “I normally work on Thanksgiving for Black Friday. To me, Thanksgiving Day has become just another day. When I was younger, I loved spending time with family and having a meal together, but the holiday has now placed more importance on getting to the stores or going into work.”

The Thanksgiving holiday is now regarded as simply just another ordinary day, which might allude to the issues within our society.  We tend to never stop and “smell the roses.”

Office Coordinator of the World Languages & Cultures Department, Eileen Jones, enjoys a traditional Thanksgiving. “We always have the traditional turkey with stuffing. My family has requested that I make my fruit salad, which usually starts off our meal after we ‘say grace’ which includes us going around the table stating what we are thankful for.”

Spending time with loved ones along with turkey and stuffing are only some of the traditions that make the day of giving thanks, unique.

Since 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade has brought joy and entertainment to both children and adults on Thanksgiving for decades. The beloved New York City tradition features giant balloons, celebrity performances, floats, and marching bands. Also, the parade exposes viewers to new artists and Broadway shows. Thanksgiving morning is not complete without gathering around the television tuning into NBC to watch with your family.  If you are feeling adventurous this Thanksgiving, then take the trip into the city to see the parade in person.

Tierney Rosen, a junior psychology student recounted her experience at the parade, “I went with my family one year and the energy was so positive. Everyone was just so excited to be there celebrating the day.”

Thanksgiving Day is a time of reflection for all the blessings we have in our lives. It is also a time to give back to those that are less fortunate and have a bit less to be thankful for within their lives. Those that do not have money for the traditional turkey dinner also deserve to enjoy a holiday filled with all the trimmings. Donating your time to various charities and giving back to those who are in need is the best way to spend the holiday.

The Reformation Community Food Pantry is located in West Long Branch and is convenient for Monmouth students to volunteer at. If you are heading home for the holiday, log onto the homeless shelter directory to find a shelter near you to give back to your community.

The holiday is not only about spending time with your family, but also your friends. In fact, many people now favor Friendsgiving. Typically, Friendsgiving is a potluck dinner, which consists of each guest contributing a dish to the party. Start a new tradition this year by making Thanksgiving a time that you spend with all of your loved ones, not only your family.

Lastly, football is a Thanksgiving staple. The lineup for the holiday always involves high-profile NFL teams. This year’s lineup consists of the following competitors: The Vikings vs. the Lions, Dallas Cowboys vs. the Redskins, and the Steelers vs. the Colts. Thanksgiving would not be complete without a couple of touchdowns.

 The turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn bread and the array of delicious desserts make Thanksgiving a food lover’s favorite day of the year. However, it is important to remember that the meaning of Thanksgiving that goes far beyond the food, amazing sales, and football. It is truly about spending time with loved ones and giving thanks for all the blessings in one’s life. This Thanksgiving Day, take a breather from the stuffing and reflect on all the aspects of your life that make it beautiful.