A Time for Gratitude: Essay Sample on Celebrating Thanksgiving in America

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1223 Words
Date:  2023-03-12


Thanksgiving is an annual holiday in the United States, usually held on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate the blessings and harvest received for the past year. Families, friends, and communities come together to appreciate and share their blessings. Various traditional meals are shared by families that include turkeys, potatoes, cranberries, bread stuffing, and pumpkins. Thanksgiving was first held in 1621 by the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people to celebrate harvests (Santino 90). The New England colonists used to celebrate the festival to thank God for blessings such as the end of the famine and the victory in military wars. The holiday was enacted in 1789 by the US constitution upon proclamation by the US Continental Congress. Since then, the holiday has been celebrated on and off (Santino 90). This paper focuses on discussing the holiday of Thanksgiving and how the day has changed over time.

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Kirkpatrick illustrates that thanksgiving holiday originated from the harvest festival held by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag in the autumnal equinox of 1621 at Plymouth. During the time, there was plenty of harvest from corn, pumpkins, and barley and the English Pilgrims came together to share a meal with their Native American neighbors (Kirkpatrick). The Native Americans brought deer and turkeys to roast and share with the Wampanoag. The Indians taught the colonists how to cook cranberries and other kinds of dishes. The colonists continued to hold the autumn harvest for many years.

The typical dishes traditionally served during the festivals include geese, corn, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. The symbols are frequently used during the current thanksgiving festivals. The use of corn traditionally meant the survival of colonies (Bangs 475). The Americans still serve the cranberry sauce today during the holiday. Bangs explains that historically, the cranberry fruit was used by the Native Americans to treat infections. They also used the juice to dye their blankets.

What activities describe Thanksgiving Day? The thanksgiving holiday is a day for families, friends, and community to gather and acknowledge their blessings while sharing with other people. For many, the holiday is the only time that families are able to come together (Jones 69). Yoder-Wise explains that the day provides families with an opportunity to spend a day engaging each other and strengthen the bonds. The main meals to be shared include potatoes, sauce, and beans (Yoder-Wise 479). The host prepares the dishes and invites other people for the celebration. Families have dinner and engage in fun activities, including football.

However, Thanksgiving is slowly losing its meaning. According to Yoder-Wise, the main aim of the holiday has turned from appreciation with families, friends, and communities to a self-serving day. Most businesses have commercialized the day as they see it as an opportunity to increase sales. Retailers are wrecking the holiday time for the shoppers and workers as they promote reasons for people to spend and gift others. They deprive time for workers to have time with their families. Despite the rhetoric of choice that offers businesses the freedom to carry out their businesses 24/7/365, employees have no power to choose whether to show up to work or not (Yoder-Wise 479). Recently, a mall in New York stores has gone ahead to threaten to fine its retail stores for failing to open at 6 pm on Thanks Giving Day. According to the managers of the mall, the stores have to comply with what the main outlet is doing.

The day after Thanksgiving, everyone is glad they made it through a year of blessings without disasters. As they rest, other Americans are alert, ready to seize any Black Friday deal that gets in their way. Why do people think that Black Friday is the only day they can save by buying products at a lower price? Santino explains that Thanksgiving Day is a day that people are supposed to take count of their many blessings instead of shopping. The involvement of the Black Friday sales, therefore, is disparaging what Thanksgiving should be (Santino 90). In recent years, some retailers have also had pre-black Friday sales at 9 pm, which is Thanksgiving Day. Santino notes that some merchants also open their businesses at 5 pm to accommodate those done with the events of the day. There are jurisdictions on prohibiting commercial activity on Thanksgiving Day, but sentiments have been met with oppositions from businesses.

Moreover, when Black Friday advertisements start running, many people perceive it as a sign to Christmas Festival even when the festivities are about a month away. The commercial hype surrounding the festivities makes Thanksgiving Day a day like any other. The involvement of Black Friday makes people go wild rather than being thankful during Thanks Giving Day. According to Santino, most Americans are more into Black Friday than focusing on the importance of the big day. Thanksgiving has taken a back seat behind Black Friday due to the hype attached to it. On social media, much coverage always concentrates on the Black Friday deals and how people can save money. Little is covered about Thanks Giving Day and enjoying the time with families and friends (Santino 92). There have been sentiments that if Black Friday could come to an end, people would refocus on the primary purpose of Thanksgiving and meditate on more reasons to be thankful.

Furthermore, in the US, as every other country needs culture and celebrations that binds people together. Santino illustrates that the social bond is increasingly becoming thin as most federal holidays have moved from cultural to commercial activities. Apart from Thanksgiving Day, other holidays such as the President's and Labor Day are used by businesses as an opportunity to boost sales. Despite Thanksgiving Day maintaining most of its cultural aspects, it has become increasingly susceptible to being fully commercialized. Do not be deceived about its original cultural elements. Past studies show that it came from religious people who believed that they lived due to Divine providence (Santino 94). It's therefore shocking to see the day is taken for granted by selfish people who are after their gain.


In conclusion, from the colonial period to the 19th Century, Thanksgiving Day was different from the holiday held currently. In the past, there were communal celebrations with the poor, and it was a day for people to come together to give thanks for Divine blessings and protection. The holiday was enacted in 1789 by the US constitution. It has been held from the time although it wasn't celebrated for some years. The Day has been reinvented, making it changing meaning over time. Traditionally, cranberries, geese, and other dishes were shared. Presently, the geese have been replaced with turkey. However, some recipes have been maintained. Commercialization of the day and the black Friday has also undermined what Thanks Giving Day should be. People are more obsessed with good deals during the period than being thankful for their blessings. Therefore, something needs to be done to get the day back on track.

Work Cited

Bangs, Jeremy Dupertuis. "Thanksgiving on the Net: Roast Bull with Cranberry Sauce." New Light on the Old Colony. Brill, 2019. 473-500. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004420557017

Jones, Beverly. "Super Simple Thanksgiving Activities." (2018): 69.

Kirkpatrick, Melanie. Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience. Encounter Books, 2016.

Santino, Jack. "Globalized, Commodified, and Contested: Contemporary Festivities in the United States." Revue Francaise detrudes Americans 1 (2016): 89-106. https://doi.org/10.3917/rfea.146.0089

Yoder-Wise, Patricia S. "Thanksgiving, 2016." The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing 47.11 (2016): 479-479.

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A Time for Gratitude: Essay Sample on Celebrating Thanksgiving in America. (2023, Mar 12). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/a-time-for-gratitude-essay-sample-on-celebrating-thanksgiving-in-america

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