Why is Thanksgiving Overlooked?

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Zachary Greene

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Thanksgiving feast

Thanksgiving feast

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Google Common License

Thanksgiving feast

Ask anyone what their favorite holiday is, and not many will say Thanksgiving. November’s signature holiday seems to be the least popular out of the end of the year trio, consisting also of Halloween and Christmas. In terms of merchandising and media awareness, Thanksgiving seems to be ranked near the bottom of the ladder.

Most people are familiar with the simple version on how Thanksgiving came to be. The Pilgrims of Plymouth were starving to death, and the Native Americans living close by helped them along and taught them how to survive on this land. To commemorate this good will, a three day feast was thrown as the Natives and Pilgrims ate together in harmony. The holiday was celebrated by some states in the country until Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday in 1863 at the height of the Civil War in attempt to “heal the wounds of the nation” (History.com).

However, outside of elementary school classrooms, Thanksgiving is not held in the same regard as Halloween, or Christmas. Retailers and stores don’t stock as many Thanksgiving Day decorations and displays, leaving most of the shelf space to Halloween and Christmas, sometimes at the same time. Most people don’t even abide by the unspoken rule that the holiday season begins after Thanksgiving anymore. According to the National Retail Federation, 56.6% of people celebrating the holiday season in 2015, started their shopping as early as the beginning of November (nrf.com).

It seems that one of our longest celebrated holidays is now more of a filler day, a step between Halloween and Christmas, with the latter continuing to creep up further the calendar with decoration and commercials available in late October now. While the holiday is still widely celebrated, with millions of turkey being eaten and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade still a popular ongoing tradition, it doesn’t hold the same weight and “hype” as other American holidays do.

So how did Thanksgiving’s relative importance become diminished throughout the years? The truth of the matter is that a day centered around being thankful for what one has and grateful for the goodness around, is not as marketable as a holiday all about acquiring consumer products and giving presents in the name of generosity. Thanksgiving is not a good holiday to be centered around consumerism; it’s meant to be a time when people reflect upon what they have in their lives, and to be grateful for them, whether it be family, good health, or simply a roof over their head. This isn’t meant to be an insult to Christmas, which is all about giving to other and about spreading kindness around the world. It’s just that Christmas is much easier to exploit in order to sell material goods; the practice has been around for over a hundred years at this point. Retailers know that Christmas sells, and so push the holiday sales harder and earlier. First it was Black Friday, which came to the national conscious in the 1980s (history.com), and then spread to many other sales such as “Cyber Monday” as well as various days throughout the holiday season. Now Thanksgiving Day itself if just another sale day, with retailers pushing consumers to start the shopping that Thursday evening instead of waiting.

Thanksgiving deserves much more recognition and relevance in society today. So this year, remember why Thanksgiving is important, and why we should celebrate it as a county. Because a holiday focused on being with family and being thankful for the good in the world should be more than just a day off to go shopping.

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13 Responses to “Why is Thanksgiving Overlooked?”

  1. Jack Flanagna on November 24th, 2017 3:56 pm

    This article is well written, and provides an excellent account of how Thanksgiving is not appreciated by large companies in America. It provides valid insight into why this is the case, and overall is thoughtful and educational. I agree that Thanksgiving deserves more recognition, and I am always shocked to see Christmas decorations go up before thanksgiving.

  2. Heather Daly on November 25th, 2017 5:22 pm

    This is a very good article that addresses something I always think about at this time of year. Stores always go from selling Halloween decorations to Christmas decorations, passing right over Thanksgiving. The author articulated the possible reason for this very well. He theorizes that Thanksgiving is overlooked is because people do not want to buy things for a holiday that is about being thankful for what you have. Still, I think the message of Thanksgiving is very important and it should be about family and friends, not decorations and presents.

  3. Natalie Olivieri on November 25th, 2017 5:52 pm

    In addition to Jack Flanagan’s comment, I found Zachery Greene’s article to be very fascinating and eye opening. I never considered Thanksgiving as a skipper holiday with Christmas deals being promoted and people decorating their homes even before December. I completely agree with Greene’s point of Thanksgiving deserving more recognition during the holiday season! His idea of America skipping Thanksgiving because it cannot be commercialized with products, is rather a sad commentary but is evidently true with Black Friday shopping starting on Thanksgiving evening. It seems that the article displays how society’s focus on the material goods rather blinds people from actually celebrating the holiday’s true purpose of appreciating one’s life and family. As a person who loves to holiday shop for my family and friends, I understand the popularity of Black Friday, however, I can see how holiday shopping can distract people from being grateful for the simple joys of life.

  4. Drew Johnson on November 26th, 2017 2:41 pm

    I disagree that as Thanksgiving is overlooked by the general public in comparison to Halloween and Christmas. There is no correlation between marketability and relevance in American culture. Although holidays like Fourth of July are not as marketable, Fourth of July is widely celebrated and has a significant cultural impact on American life. While Christmas is an undoubtedly larger holiday, Thanksgiving participation marks notably larger than Halloween participation according to CNN approximations. This data shows Thanksgiving has more of a cultural influence without being necessarily more marketable.

  5. Devon Cinque on November 26th, 2017 3:54 pm

    I completely agree with what Jack, Heather, and Natalie said; it is a very well-written and intriguing article, and it incredibly relevant to our experiences this time of year. It is very true that Christmas and Halloween are the two most notable holidays in our society, and it seems impossible to me to argue this statement. This article raises the point that Christmas has exploded as a holiday largely because it enhances many aspects of consumerism. Based on this argument alone, I am a little unsure of how Halloween climbed its way behind Christmas, as it’s really not the gold mine to big business like Christmas. I think there is another factor involved. I think our society is overlooking the importance of Thanksgiving not because of economics, but rather due to the social values embraced by this generation.

  6. Troy Edwards on November 26th, 2017 3:57 pm

    This article is very well written and offers quality insight with relative evidence as to why Thanksgiving is overlooked and I certainly agree with Greene’s opinion. As Jack points out, it is shocking that Christmas decorations and music become abundant even before Thanksgiving has happened. And also, nobody really puts up Thanksgiving decorations, around Thanksgiving you will either see old Halloween decorations or Christmas decorations.

  7. Walter Brownlee on November 26th, 2017 8:03 pm

    I agree with the author that Thanksgiving is less marketable and sells less products than either Christmas or Halloween, however, I do not think the holiday as a whole is overlooked. I believe that the only reason Thanksgiving appears to be overlooked is because shopping, whether it be for presents or candy, is not a part of the holiday tradition. Furthermore, the holiday likely sells less decorations because it is focused entirely around the individual family, unlike the other holidays which involve a larger array of people, that being extended family or kids in the neighborhood. I believe that an example of an overlooked holiday would be Memorial Day because it is a holiday that appears to be celebrated less and less every year. On the other hand, Thanksgiving seems to be celebrated consistently every year by many families, leading me to believe that the holiday is not overlooked, but instead given the appearance of it under the guise of it being marketed less.

  8. Christian de Poortere on November 26th, 2017 9:23 pm

    While I agree with the argument that Thanksgiving is drowned out by Halloween and Christmas, there isn’t much to be done on a large scale to change it. Large companies will always have power over our consumerist culture and unless they can make more money out of Thanksgiving, it’s bound to be overlooked.

  9. Abigail Daniels on November 27th, 2017 8:48 am

    This article gave a good opinion on why we should recognize what Thanksgiving is really about. It also gave a good argument about how big companies run the way we think about certain holidays.

  10. Ciara Hunt on November 27th, 2017 12:25 pm

    This article speaks the truth about how society overlook certain holidays, or forget about their true meanings/origins. Thanksgiving is overlooked because large companies can’t make a profit off of it. Because of large companies, the true meaning of thanksgiving is overlooked.

  11. Gabriel Peralta on November 27th, 2017 1:05 pm

    I agree with what Devon said, and also agree that this article gives a good illustration as to why Thanksgiving is often Overlooked. It also provides good reasoning to why it should be considered a more well known holiday as compared to Christmas and Halloween; even though stores do not sell as many Thanksgiving decorations, it is about helping and being grateful for others just like Christmas.

  12. Colin Kidd on November 27th, 2017 1:14 pm

    I found Zach’s article to be very informative and refreshing, with good key points on how thanksgiving is becoming overshadowed by consumerism and not the main focus of what people already have, and what they should be greatful for in this time of family and thanks.

  13. Katie on December 17th, 2017 2:18 pm

    This article gave a lot of support to show how Thanksgiving is not appreciated as much as it should be.The fact that there are already Christmas commercials being shown around Halloween and christmas decorations for sale even before thanksgiving display how Thanksgiving is not held in a high enough regard by people today. I agree with the statement in the article about how the meaning of Thanksgiving has been diminished over time. I agree that this is most likely because a holiday about giving thanks is not as marketable as one for gifts in today’s society, especially with small children. Overall, this was a good article that was eye opening.

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