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Christmas More Than a Spend-a-Thon
My sister Amy (the mother of Deniece and Denephew) is a dedicated Black Friday shopper. She spends weeks plotting and planning, working out just the right strategy for getting the maximum shopping out of one mere 18-hour day. Then, on the day after Thanksgiving she arises in the pre-dawn, straps on her helmet and charges headlong into full-out assault and hand-to-hand combat, all in the name of Happy Holidays and Peace On Earth.
I wonder, then, what she will make of the plans by two rather large retail concerns – let’s call them Wally World and Sheer No-Bucks – to kick off the Christmas shopping season not on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but on Thanksgiving afternoon itself.
Bad idea. Here’s why:
Thanksgiving, as practiced by the overwhelming majority of households in this country, is a feast day devoted to the consumption of rich, dense foods – creamy soups and gravies, starches of all descriptions, artery-clogging side dishes and stupefying desserts. Even the salads – healthy foods the other 364 days of the year – are thick and viscous on Thanksgiving, made as they are from recipes calling for multiple cups of mayonnaise.
Add to this the main dish, turkey, a well-known soporific, and you wind up exactly as you’re supposed to after taking on a load like that: Unconscious. Given the quantities most of us consume in these super-sized days, it’s a wonder we wake up in time for Christmas, much less Christmas shopping.
It only stands to reason, then, that what you’ll find shopping on Thanksgiving afternoon will be Food Zombies, waddling aimlessly down the aisles as they fill their carts with Chia Pets and Inside-The-Eggshell-Egg-Scramblers.
The other reason I’m not wild about Black Friday being replaced by Gray Thursday Afternoon is it just adds up to another encroachment on one of the best truly American holidays, Thanksgiving, in the name of the Almighty Christmas Dollar.
It gets worse all the time. This year, the Christmas catalogs began showing up in my mailbox in September. By October I’d seen my first “holiday greetings” commercial on television, and we hadn’t yet gotten to Halloween. Now we’re in November and not only are the commercials taking on on a certain tinsel-and-mistletoe quality, one network is even promoting November holiday programming as a run-up to December holiday programming. It’s insane.
Now, let’s get something straight. I am about as big a Christmas nut as you’re likely to find in the bowl. I shop for decorations all year long. I sketch out my tree on paper before I start applying the ornaments. Every horizontal surface of my house will soon be covered by Christmas knick-knacks.
But it isn’t going to happen before Thanksgiving. That is just wrong. Thanksgiving is the one holiday we can all celebrate, regardless of who we are, where we worship (or don’t) or what we look like. And it deserves more respect than to make it into nothing more than the kickoff for a spend-a-thon that has less to do with Christmas than with satisfying the demands of certain retail company shareholders.
I guess you can tell I won’t be out there on Thanksgiving. I’ll be home, sleeping in front of a football game, same as always. And as for my sister, you’ll have to ask her yourself. I called, but she wasn’t in. She was shopping. Or, as my brother-in-law called it, warming up.
© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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