Thanksgiving in the 21st-century

The weather has chilled.  The shelves are stocked. We are ready for the America tradition known as Black Friday. This is the time of year where families gather together for turkey and shuffle through ads. Planning and mapping out their path to the best deals. A tradition brought to us by the turn of the 21st-century.

As a little girl, I remember spending Thanksgiving nights circling around my grandparents’ dining room table dying to get in the card game. Our parents stayed up all night play card games like Rook, Shanghai Rummy and snacking on dessert my mama spent the whole week making. We woke up the next morning to watch The Macy’s Day Parade. Our children in the 21st-century circle a table full of ads while their moms and grandmas make a list and check it twice. In the wee hours of the morning, while our children sleep, we sneak out of the house to stand in the chilling November air. The long lines with Black Friday madness supply crazy stories to share with the family upon returning home. We spend the late afternoon laughing over coffee and bags of future Christmas presents.

You make a special day of it with someone who likes to go shopping. My daughter-in-law loves to go shopping. We make a family outing out of it with coffee and shopping, lunch and shopping.” – Black Friday Shopper Diana.

Some families are not all that lucky. Reuven Blau of New York Daily News wrote about Jdimytai Damour’s family who mourns his death after being trampled by a crowd of two thousand Black Friday shoppers at Walmart in 2008. Damour and his family are not the only ones who have mourned the loss of a loved one during the Black Friday madness.

Travis Dent created a Black Friday Death Count which to the best of his ability totals the most credible sources of news regarding injuries and deaths to our Nation’s newest tradition. bfdThis site attracts a million hits or more during the week of Thanksgiving. He tells us how the 21st-century tradition of Black Friday has dramatically changed his Thanksgiving.

However disheartening, many recent years at my family’s dinner table on Thanksgiving have been accented by either a record number of views or yet another senseless act. Despite my interest in the subject, I do hope this year we’ve finally reached the flat line on the graph” – Travis founder of Black Friday Death Count

Holidays can be the roughest time for those who have lost loved ones. The creator of The Thanksgiving Project a Facebook Group shares with us how he has seen celebrating the treasures around us can help ease the pain of the holidays.

There are several members of the group that have had a very special person die during the month of November and they have told me how much it means to them to have something that forces them to reflect on the good things in their life and how this project has eased their pain.” – Alan creator of The Thanksgiving Project  alan

Alan’s inspiration to create the group came from a 30-day photo challenge of things he loved. The following year he decided to continue the challenge and as an extension of his previous challenge the year before he created the Facebook group. The project has grown every year and now there are over 1800 members.

As I took the pictures I realized how many little things there are that I find are blessings to me.” – Alan creator of The Thanksgiving Project

It is not all that bad out there in the malls and department stores.  Eastern Illinois University brought us, An Analysis of Consumer Behavior on Black Friday, confirming that most of the Black Friday shoppers are calm and courteous. Only about 24% of the Black Friday shoppers were observed to be irritable.

The main thing I loved about working on Black Friday is the crowd and the excitement in the air from the customers. I loved watching men pick out gifts for their wives or girlfriends. I enjoyed helping customers with their purchases, putting patterns together.” – former Black Friday retail associates Stephanie

In the almost two decades of Black Friday, it has expanded to pre-Thanksgiving sales. Stores are now opening up on Thanksgiving morning with door buster deals, others in the evening. Over the years, the local news has brought us many stories of shoppers skipping out of the holiday all together to stand in line waiting for the best deal.

Our nation’s Thanksgiving is ever changed from the century before. The frenzy for Black Friday doorbusters has diminished some over the years. This may, in fact, be a positive thing as Trent the creator of Black Friday Death Counter told us Thankfully, 2014 and 2015 were quiet with no reported incidents as far as I know.” The new holiday shopping season has expanded to Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and more.

I miss the Black Fridays from years ago when I lived in my hometown. I would go shopping with mom and both grannies. All day long! This was when they actually kept stuff a surprise until first thing in the morning. There was no Thursday shopping.” – Kassey a former Black Friday shopper.

After the turkey has been served, regardless whether you are huddled around a table playing cards or planning your trip to the stores, take a moment to let the kids circling the table into the game or the hunt for the best deals.




  1. Thanks for the memories, to quote Bob Hope, but you may be too young to remember that. Your words blessed me with so many similar memories.

    Annie Sierra – 1st year with the #tgproject


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