A Traditional Thanksgiving in 2021? No, Everything has Changed.

Allison Gould, Print Editor-in-Chief

2020 was one of the most pivotal years in the history of the world; a polarizing U.S. presidential election, a ramped pandemic that has killed 5.18 million people to date and social movements that resulted in worldwide protests. Moving forward into 2021, we still face many of these prominent issues, yet through the years course, many have settled while new issues have arised. 

As we approach the holiday season, kicking off with Thanksgiving, we remember values of gratitude and generosity and their standing importance not only around periods of rejoice, but also in mundane life. However, due to the turbulence of the past year, are the typical virtues we preach during the holiday season going to vary from previous years?

On one hand, COVID-19 has made the world a little bit more appreciative of the smaller pleasures in life, taking away from a materialistic mentality and instead putting focus on being grateful for what we have. The impact of the pandemic has increased the gratitude and generosity living within the holiday spirit, while also promoting gratitude for simple things that can fly under the radar such as health.

There are also those who have experienced the death of a family member over the course of the past two years and have had the ways that they view the holiday season completely altered. This year may mark their first holiday season without their loved one, taking away from the joyous spirit of this time of year.

Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, many other factors have impacted the way society views gratitude and thanks. Currently, the U.S. continues to face an extremely polarized political atmosphere. In some cases, a family possesses the same polarizing division, but on a much smaller and intimate scale. In regards to Thanksgiving specifically, this has made many large dinners with multiple family members downsize after undergoing a separation due to differing political ideologies.

Whether we choose to accept it or not, Thanksgiving is completely different this year than from years prior. Globally, society itself has entirely been altered, causing a ripple effect on today’s holiday season.