Family traditions: Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks, spend time with those you love

 By Shauna DeFord
Special to the Times-News

Thanksgiving can serve multiple purposes on different levels. / Metro Creative Graphics

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, many prepare to travel home and reunite with family. Excitement for the upcoming holiday season fills the air.

 Children get excited to watch Thanksgiving Day Parades, men look forward to watching football, women can’t wait to hit the department stores on Black Friday, and everyone is ready to fill up on turkey and stuffing.

But at what point do we stop to recognize the actual purpose of Thanksgiving? Originally established in 1863 as a day for “giving thanks,” nowadays the holiday seems more like the starting line for the mad dash to the Christmas season.

 Alex Wood, a senior at Eastern Guilford High School currently taking a class at Elon University, said “I think that Thanksgiving is a time for family.”

Elon professor Larry Basirico suggested that Thanksgiving can serve multiple purposes on different levels.

 ”Thanksgiving is a national holiday that unifies all people regardless of if you are black, white, rich or poor, Jewish or Muslim, democratic or Republican,” Basirico said.

 On a commercial level, it does kick off the holiday season. It represents the time when it is appropriate to start decorating, and Christmas music can be heard in stores. This is also prime time for Christmas shopping. Many women plan out Black Friday in advance to make sure they can go to as many sales as possible, even if it means starting at midnight.

 For Tatiana Suarez, an Elon sophomore, “my family is from all over, so Thanksgiving is one of the few times I can see everyone at once.”

 This is also the time that people take part in traditions that they have made over the years.

 ”Growing up in an Italian family, we always had the traditional turkey dinner, but also lasagna, so that is something unique that I look forward to every year,” Basirico said.

 Without a doubt, there is definitely a lot of excitement this time of year. But maybe within all the hype is where we come to appreciate the holiday’s purpose. Through the rituals and traditions that are practiced at this time of year, people draw closer to the ones they love, whether that is while watching football, braving the crowds on Black Friday, or sitting at the table eating Thanksgiving dinner.

 Shauna DeFord is a sophomore at Elon University.

 

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