Mayor’s Column: Thanksgiving

Mayor Michael Mignogna highlights the history of Thanksgiving along with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

“I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends, the old and the new.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving as we know it originated with the Pilgrims in 1621 with a feast celebrating the survival of their first year in the New World. The party was a traditional English harvest festival and lasted three days.

The custom of an annual day for giving thanks continued through the years and in the late 1770s, a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress. In 1817, New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th Century, other states joined in the tradition. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of Thanksgiving and, since then, each President has issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. We now celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving has become the unofficial start of the holiday season. Businesses look forward to the following day, which is the national phenomenon that has become known as “Black Friday.” The origin comes from the shift to profitability for the retailers during the holiday season. It has traditionally been the time that retailers went from being unprofitable or “in the red” to being profitable or “in the black.” The Saturday after Thanksgiving is recognized in Voorhees as “Small Business Saturday,” a national promotion started in 2010 which encourages holiday shoppers to patronize small local businesses. The Monday after Thanksgiving has come to be known as “Cyber Monday” since retailers give discounts to online shoppers.

Small businesses and entrepreneurship are the foundation of our local economy and quality of life. In addition to a vast array of wonderful small restaurants, Voorhees has a great selection of small businesses for jewelry, clothing, gift items, housewares, pottery, art, music, baked goods, and even toys. The pandemic has presented a unique challenge to the small businesses in our community. Please consider purchasing gift cards to help support these businesses. All of our Voorhees businesses can be found on the township web page, voorheesnj.com, and the web site also shows which businesses are part of Shop Voorhees. This program allows a portion of your normal purchasing dollars spent on goods and services in Voorhees to be applied to your property tax bill, thereby reducing your taxes at the end of the tax year.

While traditions vary, Thanksgiving should remain a holiday which focuses on food, tradition, family and gratitude. On behalf of the Township Committee, have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

**The Hope Church Santa Arrival and Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 27, from 6-7p.m. There will be live music, hot chocolate and cider, crafts for kids, and even a visit from Santa! Visit meethope.org for more info. Everyone is invited to kick off the holiday season together! HOPE Church is located at 700 Cooper Rd in Voorhees.

**The Voorhees Arts Center will be continuing the Kids Art Camp, providing great art activities for children of our community ages K-6th grades. The next camps are Saturday Dec. 4 and Wednesday Dec. 29 form 9 a.m. to noon in the Town Hall Mall Food Court, visit voorheesartscouncil.org, registration is required.

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