Thanksgiving 2014

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Today is a day to give thanks to an awesome God who has given us so many great gifts.  It’s one day when everyone, regardless of their religious faith, or lack thereof, is reminded of all the good things in our lives.

Many of us will gather with our families and friends to celebrate this unique holiday.  It’s also a time to remember those who have so much less than we do.  (Up on my soapbox) It isn’t a day to try to score a great deal on a flat screen TV.  Don’t get me wrong,  there’s nothing wrong with “Black Friday” but I honestly don’t see how intruding on our day of thanks, especially making retail employees leave their family celebrations to run the cash registers, is a good idea.  Are people really going to buy more because they have a few extra hours to shop, or are the sales just going to be spread out a little bit?

Here’s link from ABC News to twenty-two stores that won’t be open Thursday.  Of course, most local, independent retailers won’t be open either.  I urge you to stay home on Thanksgiving and join the shopping fray later.  Enjoy the time with your families and join me in a prayer of gratitude for all the blessings in our lives.

On a personal note, my wife and I will be spending “Black Friday” the same way we always do, shopping at independent retailers.  Obviously we won’t do all our Christmas shopping that day, but we’ll be doing our part to support our local merchants.  I hope you’ll join us.

On a related subject, it’s time for my annual rant about saying “Merry Christmas”.  It does seem that many businesses have restored that phrase to their vocabularies.  But there are still some holdouts who insist on wishing us “season’s greetings” or “happy holidays” in spite of the fact that they make the lion’s share of their annual profits selling us gifts for Christmas.

Frankly, this confuses me.  Some will say that referring to Christmas is offensive to non-Christians.  I say “nonsense”.  Seeing a menorah, or having someone wish me a Happy Chanukah doesn’t offend me.  In fact, I think it very nice.  Why shouldn’t we share our joy with others?

When someone wishes me “happy holidays”, I always smile politely and answer “Merry Christmas”.  I’ve been doing it for years and I’ve yet to have someone object.

Merry Christmas

Thanksgiving

I will be busy tomorrow so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving.   Tomorrow is a day set aside to give thanks for all our blessings.  It’s not a religious holiday per se, Christians, Jews, Muslims, and even atheists can certainly give thanks, each in their own way.

It’s so sad that the pursuit of the almighty dollar has pushed its way into this special day.  Stores will be open tomorrow, Thanksgiving, some as early as 6:00 am or possibly earlier to get as much of our money as they can before we spend it somewhere else.  My guess is that 2012 may be the last time that stores practice any restraint at all.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m an entrepreneur at heart with many years of retail experience under my belt.  There’s nothing wrong with doing your best to get your share of the consumer dollar.  In fact, back in the ’70s I had a big customer who was open on Thanksgiving and my family spent several Thanksgivings in a motel in Southeast Missouri waiting for dad to get back from work.  We were there all weekend and the kids enjoyed swimming in the indoor pool and mom enjoyed having the turkey dinner prepared and served by someone else.  But that was the exception.  It was a tradition with that particular retailer that went back many years.

Here’s the thing.  Most Americans have a budget for Christmas.  That’s what they’re going to spend.  Whether the big box stores force everyone to be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from now until December 24, or if they all get together and decide to be open from 9:00 – 5:00 Monday thru Friday, the spend isn’t going to change.  Extending “black Friday” until Thanksgiving becomes “black Thursday” isn’t going to increase the total pie.  But retailers, especially the big boxes have gotten the idea that they must get our money first before we spend it all.  For that, they’re willing to sacrifice our national day of thanks on the altar of greed.

Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, with you family and friends, around the dining room table, in front of the television or the fireplace.  Of course, many churches have a Thanksgiving service and that’s a great way to start the day.  Don’t get sucked into the idea that the proper place to spend this special day is lined up for hours waiting for some store to open.  Besides, prices will be lower later on and you won’t have to sleep on the sidewalk or fight the crowds.

Thanksgiving Eve

As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I thought today’s responsorial Psalm was very appropriate:

Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!

Thanksgiving is traditionally a day for families and togetherness.  I’m sad to see that many national retailers have decided to violate the sanctity of the day, making their employees work and enticing shoppers to leave home and hearth in hopes of scoring a deal on a flat-screen TV.

Hopefully, you won’t be tempted.  Speaking from experience I promise you whatever deals they offer tomorrow will be repeated between now and Christmas.  In fact, that flat-screen may be even cheaper as Christmas draws near and hundreds of them are still sitting on the shelves.

So, as you cook and clean in preparation for the big event, in between the parades and the big games, before you spread all the newspaper ads out on the family room floor to plan your “black Friday” assault with the precision of a General Patton, I hope you can find a few minutes to reflect on the words above.

Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God!


Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!