Column: The true meaning of Thanksgiving

Published 6:21 am Thursday, November 28, 2019

In more recent years, Thanksgiving is what I like to call one of those “come and go” holidays. After the Halloween festivities end, the stores line their shelves with wrapping paper, Christmas trees and ornaments to announce the arrival of the Christmas season. This means that, unfortunately, Thanksgiving has been getting the short end of the stick.

In 1621, the Pilgrims sat down together to celebrate their newly-founded land and shared what would become America’s most remembered feast. Along with the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is the only other main holiday that is truly American. It has become a day to spend with our loved ones and eat a grand feast like our ancestors did so long ago.

Why does it seem as though we have lost touch, as a country, with this important holiday?

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The big-name corporations seem to play a role in this. Time off on Thanksgiving Day has become much more limited in recent years. Black Friday has somehow made its way into Thanksgiving Day, with stores now opening at 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. It seems as though businesses have reverted to competing against one another for sales and brought their employees into the dueling match.

Another reason I feel Thanksgiving has gone by the wayside is that Christmas has a lot more appeal. Snow, sugar cookies, hot chocolate and all the beauty and wonder of the holiday season revolves around Christmas. By nature, humans tend to be impatient creatures. We get so excited for Christmas that we seemingly skip right over Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is special, though. What other country has a holiday completely devoted to eating? And what other country has a day completely devoted to giving thanks? Therein lies the issue.

This special holiday was meant to give thanks. For our country, our life, and the people we get to share it with. The true beauty in Thanksgiving is dedicating one day a year to putting our own wants, desires, troubles and woes aside and focusing on the more important matters in our life. In this day and age, we cannot lose a day like that.

Can we stop stores from putting up Christmas lights in November? Absolutely not. But we can remember to take some time at the end of November to share our gratitude with everyone and everything we can.

The beauty of this holiday is that it is ours. It is ours because people long ago took the time to be grateful for what they had achieved. Everything we are has been shaped by our life, this world and the people we are surrounded by. That is worth being grateful for.

Danielle Puleo is a staff writer for The Coastland Times. Reach her at