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November 30, 2013

On the Go: We need to rethink holidays' meaning


Regardless of its origin Thanksgiving rolls around each year. We spend quality time with our families and enjoy plentiful food. Sometimes, however, family gatherings lead to feuds. Children’s visitation, in-laws’ rotations, and elderly transportation create sticky situations. Instead of being thankful for food most people gorge themselves with many times the healthy amount. Practicing gratitude has evolved into wasting our excess food and resources. Our days off from work and school are spent stressing over trivialities. 

When it boils down to it we completely miss the mark with Thanksgiving.

Black Friday is to Thanksgiving as Christmas is to Christmas Eve. You simply can’t have one without the other. Early Friday morning, or often times late Thursday night, eager consumers line up to shop shop shop. Thursday is spent being grateful for what we have (supposedly) so Friday can be spent buying more! Black Friday is at least historically accurate. 

Black Friday is “black” because it is traditionally the time of year when stores would be out of the “red” or deficit and start making a profit. No one can argue that economically we want stores to make a profit. Yet we must ask ourselves at what point is it still worth it. Black Friday is steadily creeping into Thanksgiving. Employees are scheduled to work on a day that is supposed to be reserved for family time. People are being injured in crowds. There has got to be a better way to achieve economic success and kick off the Christmas season.

We aren’t perfect but we aren’t terrible either. At least we’re trying. The past is set but the future is ours to create. Holidays evolve. I’m not suggesting we scrap the turkey but we could stand to be more giving. As a nation we might be struggling with absurd debt and stifling poverty. No matter how down we are we’re still citizens of the global community. So be aware this holiday season. 

Enjoy all you’ve got and give to those with less. Happy holidays!

Katherine Ahearn is a junior at Unatego Junior-Senior High School. ‘Teen Talk’ columns can be found at

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