After Halloween, America’s collective energy seems to go directly into preparing for Christmas. Stores trade out their pumpkins and costumes for lights and Christmas trees, Christmas songs begin their annual climb to the top of the music charts and people gear up for Black Friday all before Thanksgiving ever ends.
Thanksgiving is sometimes forgotten during the busy holiday season, but students and community members still try to celebrate the occasion in their own ways based on what the day means to them.
Community member Lewis Bruner from Creek County, Oklahoma works in Liberal and belongs to the Muscogee Creek Native American tribe. Like many, Bruner sometimes loses sight of what Thanksgiving is really about during the busy time between Halloween and Christmas.
“Black Friday is for sure a bigger deal than Thanksgiving itself now. It’s everywhere,” Bruner said. “But my family and I still try to celebrate what Thanksgiving is to us even though, in a lot of ways, we’ve lost the true meaning of Thanksgiving.”
Thanksgiving means something a little different to Bruner than most, though.
“You know, as a kid, we were taught that Thanksgiving is about the natives and the pilgrims coming together in harmony, but now that we know that that isn’t the most accurate story, we just try to focus on being together and celebrating our heritage. November is Native American Heritage Month. That’s forgotten by most people, but not us,” Bruner said.
Corrina Porras, a sophomore from Colorado Springs majoring in business marketing at Seward County Community College, says that, while she enjoys Christmas a little more than Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving is still a big deal to her and her family.
“Thanksgiving is a time when my whole family can get together, regroup, and just enjoy our time with one another. I think the fact that Thanksgiving isn’t as commercialized as Christmas takes some of the pressure off of the holiday. We don’t have to buy gifts–our time is enough,” Porras said.
However, Porras has noticed that Black Friday is often one of the reasons that people may overlook Thanksgiving, even if they haven’t already shifted their focus to December.
“It bothers me that Black Friday happens directly after Thanksgiving, and I think that’s part of the reason why some don’t really care about Thanksgiving. How can you truly focus on being thankful and appreciating what you have when you’re so fixated on all the new stuff you’re gonna get cheap in a few hours?” Porras asked. “It starts earlier and earlier each year, and it’s stupid. It takes away from everything that Thanksgiving is supposed to be.”
Sarai Borunda, a sophomore dental hygiene major from Liberal, said that, even though she enjoys spending quality time with her family on Thanksgiving and indulging in her favorite Thanksgiving foods like turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and tamales, she’s more excited for Black Friday this year.
“Thanksgiving is a big deal in my family, but I’ve definitely been looking forward to Black Friday more,” Borunda said. “I really want to get a new TV.”
Borunda said that, regardless of whether one participates in Black Friday or not, or looks forward to Christmas more, they should still try to remember what she says Thanksgiving is really about: being grateful for what you have.