What Follows Thanksgiving 2024: Embracing the Holiday Season Cheer

What Follows Thanksgiving? I’ve explored the traditions and transitions that come after our Thanksgiving celebrations, from the shopping frenzy of Black Friday to the cozy continuation of family time.

Key Takeaways

  • Thanksgiving marks a period of reflection and signals the transition into the holiday season.
  • The post-Thanksgiving period is characterized by shopping, family traditions, and societal impacts.
  • The continuity and change from Thanksgiving festivities to year-end activities highlight our cultural practices and economic behaviors.

Historical Roots of Thanksgiving

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As we explore the historical roots of Thanksgiving, I’ll guide you through its origin with the Pilgrims and its establishment as a national holiday. We’ll also touch on the cultural significance of the holiday and its impact on Native Americans.

From Pilgrims to National Holiday

The story of Thanksgiving begins with the Pilgrims, who, in search of religious freedom, set sail from England aboard the Mayflower, eventually anchoring near Plymouth Rock. In 1621, after their first successful harvest, the Pilgrims organized a feast to celebrate and gave thanks for their survival and the abundance of their crops. This feast, which lasted three days, was attended by members of the Wampanoag tribe, marking the beginning of the holiday’s tradition.

The transition from a simple harvest celebration to a national holiday took centuries. It was Sarah Josepha Hale, a committed advocate, who tirelessly campaigned for a national observance of Thanksgiving Day beginning in 1846. Her fervent letters and editorials gained traction, and it was during the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln heeded her appeal, proclaiming a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863 to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November. Later, Congress codified the holiday, solidifying its place in American culture.

Cultural Significance and Native Americans

While Thanksgiving is often associated with Pilgrims and feasting, it’s imperative to recognize the Native Americans who were instrumental in the survival of the early settlers and were vital guests at the first Thanksgiving. The Wampanoag provided essential knowledge about cultivation and the local resources, which played a significant role in the success of Pilgrim’s crops and subsequent harvests. The holiday is, therefore, not only a celebration of gratitude but also a commemoration of the collaboration between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. This partnership, however fleeting, is a poignant reminder of our shared history.

The cultural significance of Thanksgiving has evolved, but it’s important to approach it with a sensitivity to the variegated experiences and memories it evokes, particularly among Native American communities. Many Native Americans observe Thanksgiving as a day of mourning, reflecting on the historical and ongoing struggles following the European colonization. Thus, Thanksgiving can be an opportunity for education and reflection on our past as much as it is a holiday for gratitude and family gatherings.

Thanksgiving Celebrations and Traditions

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Thanksgiving is a time steeped in tradition when I truly feel the warmth of family and the joy of gratitude. I am reminded of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that dazzles the streets of New York, the savory aroma of the turkey, and the cheers echoing from the television as football games captivate audiences nationwide.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

I always look forward to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade each year. This magnificent parade features massive balloons, elaborate floats, and performances that kick off the holiday season. Watching larger-than-life characters float between the city’s skyscrapers has become as much a part of Thanksgiving as the meal itself.

The Thanksgiving Turkey and Other Dishes

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without the turkey taking center stage on my dinner table. Accompanied by various dishes like potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, each component is a nod to the traditional harvest celebration. I don’t forget dessert either; pumpkin pie is a must, concluding the feast with its spiced, sweet goodness.

Football and Family Gatherings

After indulging in the Thanksgiving meal, relaxing on the couch with my family to watch football games is the perfect way to unwind. The sport has woven itself into the fabric of the holiday, with games being a longstanding post-meal tradition. Whether cheering for our favorite team or playfully rivaling with relatives, football adds a competitive yet friendly atmosphere to round out the day.

Economic and Social Impact

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After the dishes are cleared on Thanksgiving, I always notice a dramatic shift in the community’s focus. We all collectively turn to the next big events: Black Friday and the Christmas Shopping Season. The economy sees a substantial surge in activity, and socially, individuals engage more in leisure activities such as puzzles and crosswords, perhaps to balance the frenzy of shopping with a bit of cerebral calm.

Black Friday and the Christmas Shopping Season

Black Friday marks the unofficial start of the holiday shopping spree. I’ve seen the anticipation among shoppers and retailers alike build up weeks in advance. Retailers offer significant discounts and customers queue up for hours, even in the early morning cold, to snag the best deals. The economy often gets a significant boost, as consumer spending steadily increases. Last year, I read that the average American was expected to spend a heartier sum on holiday gifts compared to the year before, which was shown in those credit surveys.

For me, the Christmas shopping season feels like a marathon that starts with the sprint of Black Friday. Retailers extend their sales and even offer new deals throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas. This period is crucial for the economy, as I’ve often read that many stores make a significant portion of their annual sales during this time.

Thanksgiving Crosswords and Puzzles

On a quieter note, Thanksgiving seems to reignite my love for crosswords and puzzles. I’m not alone; many people I know look forward to the crosswords with a Thanksgiving theme. The clues often lead to answers that remind us of what we celebrated the day before. It’s a friendly competition to see who can finish first without peeking at the answers.

These puzzles are a relaxing tradition for families and friends during the long weekend. They’re a stark contrast to the hustle of the shopping season, offering a moment of repose and reflection. They’re puzzles, they’re pastimes, and somehow, they bring us together just as much as the big dinner the day before.

FAQ – What Follows Thanksgiving?

What is Black Friday?

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, known as the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. Retailers offer significant discounts and special deals, drawing large crowds of shoppers

What is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday, encouraging people to shop at small and local businesses. It’s a response to the big box store focus of Black Friday and aims to support local economies.

What is Cyber Monday?

Cyber Monday is the Monday following Thanksgiving, characterized by online retailers offering substantial discounts and promotions. It’s become one of the biggest online shopping days of the year.


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Martin Lange
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