It seems to me that Thanksgiving is becoming almost obsolete. Sure, it is still considered a holiday. The kids are out of school. People still get together with family and friends to eat turkey and pumpkin pie until they can hardly move, and football still rules the TV. But, with nearly every major retailer opening their doors on Thanksgiving day, that sacred family time when people once reflected on their gratitude is quickly being replaced by shoppers rushing to fill their carts with more stuff. Does that seem a bit ironic to anybody else?
Quite honestly, it makes me sad. Have we become a society so focused on getting a good deal and finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones (or ourselves) that we cannot take one day to relax, enjoy family and friends, and simply be thankful? Are the inexpensive electronics plastered all over the ads as “Door-busters” that we (or our kids) simply MUST have more important than that?
I think not.
To me this seems like possibly the worst way to start off the Christmas season. I am not a Black Friday fan anyway. I used to brave the crowds, but I finally accepted that, for me, it is not worth it. There are always sales of deeply discounted items all throughout the month of December, and I realized that I didn’t need to fight the throngs of people in order to get a good deal. Plus, let’s be honest, many of those shoppers are not filled with Christmas cheer and good will towards men when they are chasing a bargain. They will run you over with their cart in order to get their hands on that TV or camera. They will push, shove, and elbow you. Civility is tossed out the window in the name of gift giving, and that makes it justified, right?
Wrong! It is out of control!
And now this will be happening on Thanksgiving day…the day when we should be focusing on being grateful and spending time with loved ones. Houston, I think we have a problem.
I understand the idea of wanting to save money. Greg and I were married for 10 years before he finished school, and we had four kids by that time. I appreciate the value of a dollar, and the desire to make those dollars stretch. However, turning Thanksgiving into the one of the biggest shopping day of the year, my friends, is not the way to do it. Instead of spending a once relaxing family holiday in the pursuit of Christmas gifts, maybe it is time to consider scaling back Christmas altogether. I talk about how our family has accomplished that in this post, but it includes much less focus on buying presents. Perhaps it is time to come to grips with the fact that we do not need the latest and greatest of everything in order to be content, and that kids should certainly learn to be happy with less than everything that they want, even if they are the “ONLY ONES” who don’t have it. It may be time to remember what Christmas is all about in the first place. I will give you a hint…it is not about lists of wants and carts full of stuff. It is about the birth of a King. It is about remembering the amazing circumstances surrounding that birth, and the perfect life of the babe from Bethlehem.
Sure, the gift giving is fun – magical even, especially for young children. I am certainly not suggesting that we should get rid of that. I do, however, think that it should be scaled WAY back, and that we should focus instead on the reason for the season. And, for heaven’s sake, I think we should take Thanksgiving back from the retailers! If you are a Black Friday fan, that’s perfectly fine…just save your shopping for Friday. Don’t get sucked up into all of this Thanksgiving shopping madness. Instead, let us spend that day in quiet family gatherings – playing games, and watching football. Let us fall asleep on the couch after a wonderful meal. Let us be thankful and content for at least one day before we head out to buy more.
Above all, let us live by this verse in Philippians 4:11
That is my Thanksgiving wish. Have a wonderful shopping free Thanksgiving!