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An opinion on Thanksgiving and Black Friday

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Here in New England and especially Massachusetts we have a closer relationship to the holiday than most others do.

As a kid I didn’t particularly like Thanksgiving. I was a picky eater, so naturally I hated almost everything put in front of me, and the only part of it I remember really enjoying was the time I got to spend with my older cousin. As I got older it just got better, especially after I went off to college for the first time. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that, plus after eating nothing but food prepared by the university’s dining services it was heavenly to taste something different and better for a change.

Now Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, due to the excitement of Christmas fading as I became older. Whereas it used to be I couldn’t wait to get my presents, now I can’t wait to get that delicious grub my dad makes.

Here in New England and especially Massachusetts, we have a closer relationship to the holiday than most others do. When people think of Thanksgiving their minds typically go to Plymouth Rock and the pilgrims who landed there as the prime example of the first Thanksgiving. It’s an integral part of both our history and our culture.

That’s why I get so puzzled when I hear about stores opening on Thanksgiving, and people missing out on dinner because they have to work or even worse because they decided to line up for “outrageously good” deals. It seems to me almost akin to something sacrilegious to have missed Thanksgiving with one’s family. As a frugal person I understand and appreciate the need and urge to find better deals on items, but to amass in giant hordes and trample others is confusing and surprising to me.

The deals one might find on Black Friday may not necessarily be that great either, depending on the item and location, so why do it? If it’s saving money, well-ordering on the internet from home will save you gas, time, and the trouble of the crowds plus there are about as many great deals to be found there as in reality. The only good reason I could think to physically go to these stores is perhaps to try clothing items on, or perhaps to be assured that what you’re buying is “as advertised”. As to businesses keeping open I can at least understand that, as repugnant and displeasing as I find it, they want to make money and this event is a way for them to do so.

People often underestimate or forget the importance of Thanksgiving, reducing it to little more than a speed bump between Halloween and Christmas. Although when the media hypes Christmas season sales as a key predictor of how our economy is doing, and with Christmas themed advertising seemingly starting earlier and earlier it’s easy to see why people forget Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving though, in my opinion, is a day to be grateful for what you have and to share a good meal alongside those closest to you.

So try to enjoy it and the long weekend that follows this year. There are a lot of historic sites in this region which could make for a particularly interesting day trip like Plymouth Rock which I mentioned earlier, and at the least, this time of year opens a good opportunity to educate yourselves and your children about the history of the state we call home.


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