Every family has different traditions for the Thanksgiving holiday from church to football to favorite television shows watched annually. But in these modern times, traditions may be changing as stores no longer close on the holiday or family drifts apart to different places around the globe. Nevertheless most people have at least one thing they always do and they have a wide variety to choose from which is why the question, “What was your Thanksgiving like?” is still a hallmark of post-holiday conversation.
Early-bird shopping is one activity that more and more people may be doing on Thursday while they did not before. Stores are staying open or opening late on Thursday in order to take advantage of the people searching for a good deal in these hard economic times. Walmart is one place opening in the evening as part of “Brown Friday.” Some stores are open the entire day in certain areas. Obviously, retailers would not be doing this if there was not a market for it, meaning that shoppers are actually shopping on Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, some stores like Costco are not open at all on Thursday and crowing about it. In an age of increased consumerism, such commitment (or what looks like commitment) to traditional values is being valued by many. It has become a point of contention for many whether people should shop on a holiday or not. Slate writer Jordan Weissmann published an article called “Be a Decent Human Being and Don’t Go Shopping on Thanksgiving.” The title is enough to create a heated after dinner conversation with anyone’s political uncle, but Weissmann makes some very interesting points about how good the deals really are and America’s policy on giving employees holiday pay or time. Anyone reading his article will be well armed for a good spat with their uncle.
For those who do not spend time arguing political points with their uncles (which means this writer is exempt from what follows), there are other post-dinner activities to take part in. Football is a true American tradition for Thanksgiving and with three NFL games to choose from there is no reason why fans of the gridiron should be drawn in to arguments. For the less sports inclined, there are some wonderful holiday specials like Charlie Brown. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a long-running tradition that many people still enjoy. For people looking to head off any family squabbles before they happen, the television may just be their best friend.
On the other hand, there are people who do not spend Thanksgiving at home at all. A lot of people this Thanksgiving holiday will be spending the holiday at work or at least part of the day at work. The more altruistically minded will be volunteering at soup kitchens and other places to give back to the less fortunate in American society. Still other people will be forced to spend the holiday in airports all over the country as winter weather conditions ground and delay planes. So, what was your Thanksgiving like? There are a lot of answers to that question, but hopefully everyone is safe, happy and healthy and that thanks can truly be given for the fortunes of the year so far.
By Lydia Bradbury