Gratitude shouldn’t expire


Carissa Lewis

A group of family and friends gather together on Thanksgiving Day, excitedly waiting to satisfy their hunger with the delectable treat they spent days preparing for. One member stretches their hand to the handle of the silver platter, slowly unveils the lid, and what do they find? – a pile of freshly stacked magazines for discounts 50 percent off!

Before Thanksgiving even begins, the craze of Black Friday pushes its way in. Swarms of people shove aside their chairs at the dinner table to be first in line for the best doorbusters. And then, when another hungry soul beats them to the door, the rejected shoppers turn despairingly back home.

Just hours before, these shoppers had formed a list of things they appreciate, but now, rather than focusing on what they are thankful for, they focus on the loss of that one item they simply couldn’t live without. It is as if their list was carelessly thrown away.

Of course, it is important to be aware of the people and activities that make your life exciting, but Thanksgiving should be about more than just making a momentary acknowledgement of the things you appreciate.

Gratitude shouldn’t be confined as a temporary thought in your mind. It should be acted upon.

Whether this means participating in a community project, like volunteering in a soup kitchen or donating blankets to a homeless shelter, or simply writing a letter to someone you appreciate, thankfulness should be openly expressed.

Unfortunately, enthusiasm for Black Friday frequently cuts any form of expressing thankfulness short. Often, there is an unneeded expiration date placed on gratitude, as though appreciation is just another one-day deal found in a magazine.

There is nothing wrong with a group of people coming together in a united pursuit. Excitement for Black Friday can even strengthen the bond between friends who merely want to spend time together. The problem is that the “common interest” amongst Black Friday shoppers is often self-oriented.

As business hours stretch earlier and earlier into Thursday afternoon, Black Friday impedes upon the benevolent nature of Thanksgiving. Although the day of sales is sometimes associated with the beginning of Christmas shopping, it is more often used as a means to attain more for oneself.

Dedicated individuals will readily sacrifice their night to sleep outside the doors of a consumer shop in anticipation of a self-fulfilling treasure, but when it comes to serving others, people suddenly become much more preoccupied and unwilling to tolerate the bitter weather.

It is not wrong to buy something for yourself once in awhile, but don’t let any one event, like Black Friday,  provoke you into a self-serving mentality.

Thankfulness does not have to be expressed in the form of community service. If you appreciate your friends, find them a gift on Black Friday rather than buying one for yourself. If you appreciate music, compose the first Thanksgiving hit song. If you appreciate nature, explore the outdoors rather than going into stores.

But rather than hurriedly throwing out your gratitude because you think that it’s spoiled, preserve it. Make the most out of your appreciation and turn it into something more than a thought.