Is Thanksgiving Being Taken Over By Consumerism?

by Miranda Marquit · 1 comment

My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. This is one of the simplest of holidays, without a lot of fuss, and without the need for elaborate decor or presents. Thanksgiving has long been considered a holiday untouched by consumerism. After all, what is less consumer-based than gathering with family and expressing gratitude?

Unfortunately, consumerism does seem to be encroaching on Thanksgiving. Wal-Mart has announced that it is starting Thanksgiving deals at 6 p.m. Other retailers have been moving back Black Friday doorbusters to midnight, to 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night, and earlier. There is no longer any pretense that Thanksgiving is sacrosanct. These days, it’s all about moving on to Black Friday as quickly as possible.

I think it’s too bad that Thanksgiving is being pushed aside in the name of the almighty dollar. In the rush to “get a good deal” how many of us are giving in to tendencies toward mindless consumerism. This is a time of year that prompts people to spend money first — without thinking about it. Conscious spending basically disappears once the holiday shopping season starts, and the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier every year.

What About Gratitude?

The iffy origins of Thanksgiving aside, the point of the modern Thanksgiving is supposed to be one in which we express gratitude and give thanks for all that we have. It’s a time to be with family and share. The idea of Thanksgiving is one of giving, not of taking. And while Thanksgiving can get expensive without proper planning, the reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. For many, the Thanksgiving dinner is a group effort, in which multiple people bring items to share.

Trends seem to be running roughshod over Thanksgiving, though. Rather than taking a day (just one day!) to banish the consumer culture, we no longer have that. But we can’t blame stores alone. Clearly there is a demand for this sort of thing, since the stores are still making money, and there will likely be people giving up family time to queue up for the latest cheap doorbuster. In fact, the reality that many people will go shopping on Thanksgiving means that they are depriving workers of a chance to be with their own families. The whole thing takes what is supposed to be a day of thanks and reflection and turns it into just another shopping day — a greedfest in which people fight over items that really aren’t that great.

What Will You Do This Thanksgiving?

Many people think I’m too fastidious and self-righteous about Thanksgiving Day. Nothing wrong with getting deals and enjoying the best prices! However, I still maintain that I want my Thanksgiving to be an island of repose in the midst of a consumer-driven holiday season. I don’t get too into shopping any time of the year, but it seems as though all this excitement over shopping on Thanksgiving is a bit much.

Of course, it’s my choice, and I don’t need to participate in the rampant consumerism (and I won’t). What about you? What do you think? Are deals on Thanksgiving a good idea?

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Abigail November 22, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I’m actually working (via email support) for Thanksgiving, but it’s dead on hollidays. So we’ll curl up with a movie or two, I’ll check emails every 30 minutes or so, and we’ll shelter from the crazed traffic and stress of it all.

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