Stay thankful after the holidays end


Holly Shively Headshot

By Holly Shively and By Holly Shively

Do you remember the feeling of sitting around the table with your family, talking about how thankful you are after just finishing a massive turkey dinner?

If yes, I’m glad. If no, maybe we should have more Thanksgivings. Only four days removed from the holiday and it already seems like everyone around me has forgotten how much they really have to be thankful for.

For some reason (cough, cough-corporate America), we follow up a holiday all about recognizing how thankful we are with a day all about waiting in long lines, pushing and shoving to get what we want and spending loads of money on material objects.

Black Friday was originally referred to this name by police in Philadelphia because of how dense traffic was, both in vehicles and on foot. Retailers, of course, didn’t like this, and tried to rebrand as Big Friday. When that didn’t work, they recoined the term Black Friday to mean the day books went from red (defecit) to black ($$$).  

It gets worse every year. When I was a kid, Black Friday sales didn’t start until 5 or 6 a.m. Eventually that shifted to midnight, then 8 p.m. Thursday, then 6 p.m. Thursday, and now there are sales that start at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning.

Do we, as Americans, spend any time even on actual Thanksgiving day to recognize everything they have to be thankful for anymore, especially those small things people often overlook?  

With the development of Black Friday’s massive sales for mega-companies, like Kohl’s, Walmart and Dunham’s, came Small Business Saturday to support local businesses that couldn’t compete with the doorbuster sales at larger chains.

With the development of online shopping came Cyber Monday — today. While we leave out Sunday as a major shopping day, we have three of four consecutive days filled with greed over material objects instead of spending our time off work and school with our families.   

I’m not saying I don’t enjoy the deals. I understand when your child wants a $300 Xbox that’s on sale for $175. Why pay more if you don’t have to, especially when the holidays are filled with expenses?

But we can wait a little later to start shopping (especially if stores wait to start sales), and we can turn shopping trips into memories — something to keep the thankful vibes rolling instead of crushing them with greed. Once I hit high school, my mom and I would go Black Friday shopping every year together — waiting until midnight of course, so it was actually Friday and all of our Thanksgiving festivities were done.

We made it a girls’ trip. While we would occasionally buy gifts and make lists of the sales we wanted to look for, we were never disappointed if we didn’t get what we wanted. We were just thankful to spend the quality time together and thankful to get some deals. One year, my mom jokingly asked if there were any of those huge TVs left that everyone lined up for at 6 p.m., and the guy working at Walmart actually said they did, so we bought one because our TV had just broken.

At the University, we also have an amazing drop-in day of service called Giving Tuesday every year after all of these greed-filled days. The event was brought to the University by the Student Philanthropy Committee a few years ago to counter the loss of thankful feelings we feel after all of these days dedicated to shopping.  

This year, the event will be in the BTSU Room 228 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Tuesday. I challenge BGSU, as a community, to put in more hours of service this year than ever before to give back and show that we don’t stop being thankful just because Thanksgiving is over.