With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, many Minnesotans responded to the closing of Mall of America on Thanksgiving Day with tacit disapproval. The public’s reaction to this modification has made me acknowledge that through this national holiday, we often lose sight of its true meaning. Rather than acknowledging all we have to be thankful for, we get caught up in the more material aspects of the season: the shopping, the deals, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
The recent social trends and extreme retail obsessions make me believe that everyone wants to get rid of Thanksgiving. As we become more obsessed with the hottest fashions, we steer far from the holiday’s purpose. I have come to find that I am not the only one losing hope in this holiday; others like junior Blake Brown are also concerned about the way Thanksgiving seems to be turning. “I find the fact that stores are open on Thanksgiving just so product based and materialistic. It takes away the festivities of Thanksgiving and being thankful,” Brown said.
I, along with senior Zipporah Kaffey, find something fishy about driving to stores just hours after giving thanks for what we already have. “I don’t like it. I don’t like that a bunch of people will literally stampede and kill people to get these sales that aren’t even that good. It takes away the giving aspect of the whole season. The fact that people are willing to kill for these sales is unnecessary,” Kaffey said.
I commend the decision to draw the line and close America’s largest shopping mall on Thanksgiving. This bold choice means that we will be able to give back to families and the people we care about which is an important and worthy goal. The Mall of America has traditionally been among the growing crop of retailers and malls that has swung open their doors on Thanksgiving night. However, this year employees of the Mall of America received notifications that the mall, including its indoor amusement park and movie theaters, would remain closed on Thanksgiving Day. While individual retailers had the option of remaining open, of the more than 520 stores inside the mall, only three chose to have their doors open. “The stores that remain open definitely misconstrue the meaning of Thanksgiving. I like the fact that the majority push to the day following the holiday,” Kaffey says.
While it may seem like a small change in your schedule with the mall re-opening at 5 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving to kick off its Black Friday festivities, this alteration could mean a world of difference to the person sitting next to you. For many of us, the meaning of Thanksgiving includes feasting, four-day weekends, football games, floats, family reunions, or a forerunner to the greatly anticipated Christmas festivities. The “first Thanksgiving,” however, was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering. We must educate ourselves and others on the meaning of Thanksgiving and the numerous transitions the holiday has undergone overtime. Understanding the true meaning of Thanksgiving is the first step; the second is acknowledging what is right in front of us rather than what’s replaceable and on a shelf. It is simple; friends and family are forever while material items are temporary.