BALTIMORE -- Holiday season is here. These last three months of the year are arguably the fastest months to spend money on the gifts and gadgets you have been waiting all year to get at half price.

But the holiday season has turned into discount season where retailers and consumers seem more focused on new tablets instead of the turkeys.

It’s almost instant: As soon as November hits, people tear down their spooky decorations and begin to shop for the Christmas trees and lights. Yet within that 35-day transition between Halloween and Christmas, there’s a holiday that fewer people are excited about: Thanksgiving.

For Halloween, stores go all out with costume and candy marketing and scary movies sales. For Christmas, we get movies like “Home Alone,” debates between fake and real Christmas trees, and millions of Christmas carols remixed to fit the trend. But for Thanksgiving, there’s not as much hype or spirit about giving but instead, getting.

“I haven’t seen a major retail store sell Thanksgiving decorations in years!” said Kayla James, Jr, a Morgan State University nursing major from New Rochelle, New York. “I used to see the cornucopias, and the pilgrim hats, and like, the ‘Charlie Brown’ movie on TV. But now everyone just wants their new electronics and leftovers. It’s like everyone forgot about the giving thanks part.”

Retail stores have basically taken over the holiday, forcing families to make hard decisions between the turkey or the tablet. Instead of enjoying Thanksgiving Day and then going Black Friday shopping, retailers have beat everyone to the punch with their subconscious holiday marketing techniques.

We transition from those Party City costume commercials to “we open at 5 a.m. Thanksgiving morning” commercials. The importance of giving thanks for life and prosperity has transitioned to retail therapy.

“Thanksgiving in my family has definitely changed over the years. We used to spend all day cooking, joking and telling funny throwback stories” said Jordan Davis, a sophomore, engineering major from Richmond, Virginia. “But now my mom has decided she doesn’t want to cook this year because she has to get gifts for the kids early or she has to work.”

Thanksgiving is now a day that many lower- and middle-income Americans will spend either at work or out bargain hunting. Students such as Alexis Fox, a business major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, says she plans to work on Thanksgiving Day because her job is paying her double overtime: “Normally, back home in Florida, I spend the day preparing food and sipping wine, but this year will be my first Thanksgiving away from home and I decided to make some extra money for Christmas. But I do plan on Cyber Monday shopping.”

Can’t blame her for that one. Most retailers either pay their employees more money to sacrifice their holidays or “request” them to work.

The demand for discounts and opening on Thanksgiving morning is forcing more establishments to compete against each other not only with sales but with opening times, meaning that request your boss is asking of you basically is a “work-or-lose-your-job in the prime of holiday season” type of message to employees.

Maybe Thanksgiving is not a grand season in today’s society because it only deals with giving.  People receive things on Halloween and Christmas, as opposed to Thanksgiving, where all you receive is an extra 10 pounds or leftovers for a week.

That probably  explains why Black Friday and Cyber Monday have gained more weight than the main event. 

The writer is a student in the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication

 

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