Hiba

Shopping season steals joyful spirit from holidays

Dec 4 • Opinion • 1107

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Call me the Grinch who stole Christmas – and Thanksgiving, all at once. In fact, I would like to steal any commercialized holiday.

Strolling through my Facebook feed Thursday, I was overwhelmed by the statuses my friends posted about what they’re thankful about. It was surely heartwarming to see so many people take a step back and count their blessings, even if it was just for a day.

But between all the “today I am thankful for,” and the “happy Thanksgiving” updates, I stumbled upon a meme one of my friends – perhaps another Grinch – shared.

The meme featured a confused boy and read, “You mean people trample each other for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have?” “Black Friday logic,” he commented.

Despite the less-than-honorable political origins of how Thanksgiving started many years ago, the whole idea behind a day of thanks seems pretty nice to me. Sure, everyone should be thankful every day and they should let people know that they’re in fact thankful; but in this day and age, having a designated day for that seems appropriate for an otherwise overlooked practice.

The day becomes a little less charming when it’s part of the holiday season, right before Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve – celebrated days in which exchanging gifts is customary. Then it’s no longer just Thanksgiving; no, it’s also Black Friday, Cyber Monday, 50-percent sales, pre- Black Friday sales on Thursday and so on.

Being a foreigner to Thanksgiving – and pretty much every other American tradition – I learned to appreciate the special day. It’s actually my favorite American holiday, too. I have also been lucky enough to experience it with Americans who have been gracious enough to invite me into their homes Thursday. The whole day is romanticized in my mind.

Then I turn on the TV and it’s all ruined.

It’s not ruined only because of commercials but also because I have experienced the true “darkness” of Black Friday once during my time here. I left my apartment last year with one goal only: buy things because they’re on sale in the middle of the night.

But it wasn’t too long after I arrived at Grove City Outlets with two of my friends that I realized that the joke was on me.

The place was, to no one’s surprise, packed and people could barely fit in the stores. After spending what seemed to be an eternity – two hours – in two stores only, we decided to pack it up and go. I got home with two sweaters and a scarf.

Three items I didn’t need.

It wasn’t the first time I bought things I didn’t need. I, like many other females, enjoy shopping for clothes. But what was new to me was the association between shopping and the holidays.

While Black Friday and holiday deals push people just a tad to get things off their Christmas shopping list, they also push away the charm of otherwise revered traditions.

 

HIBA ALMASRI

almasri002@knights.gannon.edu

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