While millions of Americans are traveling on this the busiest travel day of the year, my family and I have arrived back home from our pre-holiday travels. I must say that it’s kind of refreshing to have the stress of travel behind us while we enjoy our Thanksgiving at home with friends. Less refreshing has been trying to fight the urge to listen to Christmas music and get a head start on our myriad of Christmas traditions. I know there are more and more people out there that have all but brushed Thanksgiving aside, but I will hold on to my belief that we should celebrate one holiday at a time.
It seems a little sad to me that the one holiday that seems to get the short end of the stick is one centered around having thankful hearts. I get that listening to Christmas music, starting your shopping, and decorating your home beforehand does not mean that you are not grateful. But it still seems a shame that we give it less and less of our focus. I actually love Christmas music and have often wondered why we don’t listen to it year round. But I think the special feelings I feel about Christmas music, and all things Christmas, are that they are held aside for a special time of year. My problem with all the Christmas activity before Thanksgiving is that I don’t feel like it is done to lengthen the experience of the Joy of Christmas but rather to lengthen the ability to “get it all done.”
Black Friday Shopping is the biggest culprit of Thanksgiving being robbed of it’s own separate day. While I never participated in Black Friday shopping when it was actually on Friday, I could at least respect it’s placement AFTER Thanksgiving. Now I can’t even do that. It starts earlier and earlier every year. Early enough now that it’s becoming known as “gray Thursday.” I know several people that dislike the stores opening on Thanksgiving, but that’s still not deterring their Black “Friday” shopping experience from happening. My concern, and history proves this, is that as long as you give a retailer a customer then most retailers are going to take advantage of that opportunity to have their doors open earlier and longer.
There is the argument that we do the shopping out of the need for a good deal, but I can’t imagine that our need is so great that it means robbing workers of their holiday time with family. My husband is in the medical field and, as a result, we fight to spend our holidays together. I respect that my husband is needed at the hospital, but are we losing sight when we believe that retailers are needed earlier and earlier for us to snag the best deal?
For many, Black Friday Shopping is also a tradition. And a rather fun one, I’m told. I hear people-watching alone is epic. But I imagine you can still line up outside of the retailers that are making a point to give their workers Thanksgiving off and stay true to Black Friday. What a wonderful tradition it would be to carry as it was intended on Friday and allow the workers to carry on their traditions of a Thanksgiving meal with their loved ones.
The beauty of Thanksgiving is that it’s one of the few holidays where there are no obligations to give gifts. The only obligation is to eat, enjoy yourself, have a grateful heart, and spend time with loved ones. The irony of Black Friday and it’s focus on materialism immediately following, and now infringing on, Thanksgiving is a little disheartening to me.
I suppose it’s easy for me to have my opinion since I have yet to take part in Black Friday Shopping. Although, as a lover of Christmas music, I can say that I do not listen to the radio stations playing Christmas music prior to Thanksgiving. It’s no easy task, but I do it in my effort to celebrate one holiday at a time. I may be one girl with little impact, but I feel better knowing that I believe in this principle enough that I won’t allow myself to be a contributor in Thanksgiving becoming a minor holiday.
To each of you, regardless of your Thanksgiving plans, may you have grateful hearts tomorrow and everyday. There is always, always, always something to be thankful for in our lives.