Where Did Thanksgiving Go?

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(credit: Norman Rockwell)

(credit: Norman Rockwell)

While I am a bit early to get on my annual Thanksgiving soapbox, I feel it is imperative that I raise my concerns early this year. Maybe that’s just to match the early Black Friday pricing, but I feel something must be said.

Has treating Thanksgiving as an actual holiday become a thing of the past?

I realize that we have allowed the tide of commercialism eat away at the foundation of the holiday for many years, but it seems different this year. It seems that after years of constant rain of Christmas decorations going up before the Halloween candy is sold out, the institution of Thanksgiving is finally sliding down the hill and being swallowed by the mudslide.

Thanksgiving is now being treated with less respect than ever before. Not only do we have Christmas music playing in grocery stores in mid-November, alongside Christmas decorations of every size, but now we have a different problem.

Sears, a store steeped in American tradition is thinking about being open all Thanksgiving Day. I know that this move would solve the problem for many people who would rather purchase a nice socket set than spend time with their family, but the move is saying more about our society than just a tool obsession.

Sears wouldn’t make this move, and other stores wouldn’t be enticing customers with Black Friday pricing now, if it wasn’t effective.

I really can’t blame the stores, as much as I would like to. They are only trying to make money, and that is hard to do, especially in a recession.

No, I blame us, all of us that have sat idly by and watched what should be the most treasured and sacred of American holidays become a shell of what it once was.

Stores wouldn’t be open if they didn’t feel people will show up. We’re the problem, not the stores.

Thanksgiving isn’t for practicing elbow shoving moves for Black Friday sales, it’s for giving thanks for everything that we have, starting with family, friends and food on the table.

This day was built to bring us together, take a deep breath from our busy lives, and appreciate what incredible blessings we have all around us. Trust me, most of the world would give their left arm to have everything we have to be thankful for.

So, what’s the big deal? America is all about commercialism and freedom, and if we want to go shopping rather than eat mashed potatoes with cousins, so be it. No harm done, right?

Wrong.

Any nation that forgoes an opportunity to pause and give thanks in order to buy more stuff is going to suffer from that poor decision.

When our society stops to give thanks, we display our collective values. When we toss that holiday to the side in order to take advantage of a sale on Plasma TV’s, we also show our collective values.

Our values influence how we care for our elderly, how we educate our youth and how we decide to take care of our planet.

Societies in history that adopted greedy values didn’t do well. And neither will we.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not intend to spoil your own Thanksgiving holiday with a lot of doom and gloom about our society. I am generally an optimist.

But I feel it will take a serious slap in the face to wake us up out of this bargain fever that has clouded our better judgment. We must wake up soon if we are not to incur the real damage these decisions can bring.

To be consistent with the values I am spouting, I am taking a brief holiday from this blog to spend some time with my family. I’ll be back writing after I enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family.

I hope all of you get to do the very same. I wish all of you a wonderful, filling, peaceful and non-commercial Thanksgiving.

- by Dominic Dezzutti

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