Family, football and food

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With all of today's technology occupying every minute of every day for so many people, it's tough to imagine going more than a few hours without using a cell phone, a laptop or the Internet. Days that were once devoted to spending time with family and loved ones are now filled with Facebook, texting and Google. But one day, Thanksgiving, still brings families together all over the country.

For many families, Thanksgiving is one of the only times multiple generations get together and spend time without the distractions of everyday life. As opposed to the surrounding holidays such as Christmas (which often draws criticism for being very commercialized) and Halloween (which focuses on candy and costumes), Thanksgiving is one of the very few holidays that still spotlights family and tradition for much of the American population. The young adults who usually spend their busy days on smartphones and social networks have grown to appreciate that.

"I think it's pretty much the only holiday that hasn't really lost the meaning of what it's been for so long," said Scottsdale resident Van Robinson. "Even for those who don't have family nearby, it's still just about getting together with the people you care about and thinking of all the stuff that you're thankful to have."

Robinson, 23, thinks other holidays have become more modernized to make them "more fun and appealing" for people to celebrate. "Obviously, Thanksgiving isn't exactly the same as it was for the Pilgrims, but in the big picture, it hasn't changed that much," said Robinson. "We added football, but otherwise I think most of the day is probably pretty much the same as it was 200 years ago."

Though not everyone agrees that Thanksgiving hasn't changed to keep up with the times, most believe it's done a better job at sticking to its roots than other holidays. "Thanksgiving is about eating too much turkey, drinking too much wine and spending time with family," said Matt Chmurzynski, a former Cave Creek resident now living in Dallas, Texas. "It's not like Christmas with all the pressure to buy gifts."

Chmurzynski, 24, won't be able to attend Thanksgiving dinner with his family for the first time due to a busy work schedule, but that hasn't dampened his mood for the holiday much. "I always like going home for Thanksgiving; I wish I could do it this year. I'll still celebrate it out here with other people, but it won't be the same," said Chmurzynski.

While some may have a different take on Thanksgiving than others, the differences are slight enough that the same few themes are shared by nearly everyone: family, food and football.
"I don't have any relatives out here, so I usually spend Thanksgiving with friends," said Mazeratie Sweet, 28, of Scottsdale. "I don't think it's a bad thing, though. “You can't pick who you're related to, but you can pick who's important to you. That's what really makes a family.

Thanksgiving is that one day when you put everything else aside and spend time with the people who mean something to you," said Sweet. "It's the time when you put the phone down, get off Facebook and go eat turkey."

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