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Opinion – What’s the Deal with Thanksgiving, Anyway?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I’ll be blunt, I have never understood the appeal of Thanksgiving. Not only is it sandwiched between two arguably better holidays, it also holds absolutely no significance in my family or, more accurately, it used to hold significance in my family. Back before my great grandmother passed, all my family that lived near to her (and by near, I mean within six hours) would meet up for dinner. My sisters, mother, and I would always have to head back after the dinner so my mother could make it back to work for Black Friday and not be incredibly exhausted. My mother has worked as a manager in retail for most of my life, so it wasn’t unusual for her to be working every single day surrounding a holiday. Thanksgiving used to be the exception, until the retail chain she works for began opening for Black Friday at 6:00 PM on Thanksgiving. After that, my sisters and I never attended another Thanksgiving with our whole family. To be fair though, that was in part because of my mother’s job and in part because my great grandmother passed away. Instead, we would have a Thanksgiving Lunch at our house around 2:00 PM with my mom before she ran off to work. Don’t get me wrong, I always enjoyed doing this with her, especially since we don’t get to eat many meals together. Seriously though, why have a holiday that’s supposed to be about family when my mother can’t even spend the entire day with us because the very next day is the biggest day in retail.

With that out of the way, I mean really, what’s the point of Thanksgiving? Seeing old relatives so they can tell you how much bigger you look? Listening to Uncle Dave’s racist and misogynistic jokes? To be frank, neither of those sound appealing to me. I know Thanksgiving is supposed to be about family, but what’s the point of having a holiday about family when most families are scattered across the country, or running to work the next day? At least my family stretches all the way from the East Coast to the West Coast, and I understand that some families aren’t like that. But it would be impossible to get my entire family together for one day of the year when the world expects everyone to continue living like normal the very next day.

Most schools don’t even give off the week of Thanksgiving anymore like when I was in elementary school, we’d only get a few days surrounding it off. This really brings me back to my main question, what’s the deal with Thanksgiving? It’s supposed to be a holiday about family, yet most people don’t even get along with the entirety of their family that has time to meet up for a huge meal where most of the dishes are kind of disgusting. If Thanksgiving was truly not an excuse for old people to drink together and make jabs at the younger family members, then why is there so much pressure to get the Black Friday deals the very same day? Why is there so much pressure to get back to work only a few days or even the day after the holiday? What is the deal with Thanksgiving?

Halle is a First Year at the University of Akron. Her major is AYA Integrated Sciences and she plans on being a high school science teacher. She loves costume design and her pets, which include her cat, dog, and mice. Halle loves watching anime and writing in her free time.