The Gray Area: Thanks-Keeping and Gray Friday


Blake Catlett

THE GRAY AREA: THANKS-KEEPING AND GRAY FRIDAY — Columnist Grayson Catlett browses the aisles of Wal-Mart in preparation of Black Friday.

Grayson Catlett, Columnist

The last hurdles before the annual reign of Santa Claus and Mariah Carey are quickly approaching: Thanksgiving, the day of usually arguing with family, and Black Friday, the day of usually arguing with everyone else. It is truly the best time of the year!

But, of course, life is different this time around. These quarrelsome holidays are staring down the continuation of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, which has stifled many traditions as it has progressed. Unfortunately, it is only getting worse as we inch closer to the holiday season; The New York Times revealed that Tennessee saw an increase of 7,499 cases on November 16, easily the largest daily increase that the state has witnessed. How exactly can we maintain these cherished festivities without deepening the wound that the pandemic has brought to the United States? Will we even be able to?

First comes Thanksgiving, the more contentious holiday to adapt to the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already suggested some measures to combat the coronavirus spread that is expected with such a family-based custom, but those suggestions were immediately met with controversy. Being so focal on family meetings makes it harder to grapple with the idea of impairing those meetings for medical purposes.

History teacher Chris Kribs mentioned that he will only be celebrating with his immediate family.

“We think it is what is best at this time, but we usually celebrate with many people and it is unfortunate that we will not be able to do so this year,” he said, adding, “we will do our part to make sure we do all we can do to stay safe. We are adapting to the new normal.”

None of the CDC’s measures have been enforced, so the celebration of Thanksgiving is ultimately up to the participants. All families are different, and how they eat or fight together this year will be decided on their own accord, whether they need to consider an at-risk family member or not.

“Family is what has kept us going during this trying time, and it will be the thing that ultimately gets us all through this,” shared Kribs.

Senior Madison Taylor also laid out some of the precautions her family is taking.

“All of our family are cooking in their own houses with immediate family… because there won’t be proper social distancing if we are together,” she wrote. “If family comes from out of town, we’ll just take turns going from house to house while wearing masks because everyone has gotten tested in these past two weeks.”

The less disputed holiday to cover during the pandemic is Black Friday. Luckily, for those who enjoy those fantastic sales, the solution to a socially-distanced Black Friday has already been in use for a few years now: online shopping. Even without the technological miracle of Amazon, those who want a more physical way of saving money can simply arrive at their stores or malls. Both Taylor and Kribs acknowledged online shopping as their outlet for deals this November.

With the holiday season at its start and COVID-19 cases on the rise, there is a lot to be concerned about given the multitude of tensions that coincide with this time of year. With the complicated answers to traditional gatherings during a pandemic, I am here to remind you of what I know; sometimes, things are not just black and white.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers, stay safe with your families, and may your sales be bountiful.