Illustration by Chris Ware | Lexington Herald-Leader
Illustration by Chris Ware | Lexington Herald-Leader

Thanksgiving was once focused on loved ones gathering around the table to feast, give thanks and catchup with relatives. Now it seems it has turned into a time when people cut their dinner short and rush to the store to gather half-priced items. Some people are even forced to work during the holiday.

We’re letting shopping and sales take over our lives. Aren’t we supposed to take a step back and reflect on why we’re grateful? Our culture is slowly forgetting the true meaning behind Thanksgiving, and we are turning it into a commercial holiday of shopping. When will we say enough is enough?

Thanksgiving should be spent on recognizing the things we have been given and showing those around us that they are a priority in our busy lives. It is a time to remember our American heritage of that first Thanksgiving and realizing how far we have come. We should also spend the day thinking about how far we have come in our own lives.

The one thing we shouldn’t have to think about during the holiday is rushing to work because the Black Friday sales starting at 5 p.m. We shouldn’t be sitting on the couch, watching the clock, waiting for when we can get the new Xbox at the lowest price. It’s a time of thanks, but we are forgetting that.

When did it become the social norm to turn a day of gratitude into greediness? I strongly believe that Thanksgiving should be a time to think about, and help, those who aren’t as fortunate.

We all have a lot to be grateful for. So take time to give some of your blessings to others. You’ll also feel more grateful for what you have when you see others who have less.

Instead of letting Thanksgiving be taken over by Black Friday and Christmas, we need to make it a day that isn’t ruled by everything else. Ideally we should spend more than one day a year being thankful, but at the very least we can make Thanksgiving the best day of the year.

Change in our attitude towards Thanksgiving starts with us. If we don’t shop on Thanksgiving day, stores won’t start their sales as early. If we set a day aside to be grateful and spend time with our family instead of waiting to get to the sales, we will develop lasting memories.

It should be a day that isn’t overrun by Christmas decorations or Black Friday ads. It should be its own holiday with decorations and gratitude. Thanksgiving should be the one day in a year in which we can truly sit back and realize all we have been given.

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