Thankful For Tradition

By Michael Willson

When I hear the word “Thanksgiving,” memories of when I was a little kid visiting my family in South Carolina come to my mind with a feeling of intense nostalgia.

I can remember it all as if it were yesterday. The day before Thanksgiving, school would let out two hours early. I would rush home, eager with excitement. When I got there, the car would be packed up and ready to go. Once everyone was ready, we would set out on our long journey to Spartanburg, South Carolina. It would be late at night by the time we got to my grandmother’s house, but she was always at the front door wide awake and happy to greet us. Despite the late night, I would wake up early the next morning to watch the Macy’s Day Parade on TV. When that was over, my brother and dad would change the channel to a football game. I would always leave the room then because, quite frankly, I could not have cared less about such a stupid sport. At the end of the day, the whole family would gather around the dinner table for a delicious feast. Turkey, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie—just thinking about it makes my mouth water. Afterward, the family would go into the living room and watch “Jingle All the Way.” Yes, I know it is a stupid movie, but we still enjoyed it.

The last time I spent Thanksgiving in South Carolina was when I was 7. My grandparents have died since then. All of my Thanksgivings since then have been spent at home, but that does not mean that the traditions have died. I still wake up early to watch the Macy’s Day Parade. I now see the parade as just one big celebration of American capitalism, but I still enjoy it. My dad and brother still watch football, and yes, I still leave the room. We still have our feast. It has even gotten bigger. Pecan and apple pie have been added to the menu. And despite the fact that it gets worse each year, we still watch “Jingle All the Way.”

Some things never change, and for my family, it’s our Thanksgiving traditions. I believe that Thanksgiving is an important time for families to spend together. I am afraid that for many people, Thanksgiving has turned into a consumer holiday as opposed to a family holiday. People are spending their Thanksgiving fighting each other at malls instead of spending time with their families. Workers have to devote their day of thanks to greedy customers instead of their loved ones. Many families say that it’s a tradition to go shopping on Thanksgiving. Sounds like a pretty lousy tradition, if you ask me. As for my family, we will be having a nice, traditional Thanksgiving at home with each other.