When it comes to holidays, Thanksgiving ranks second in popularity, just behind Christmas, according to rankopedia (Christmas, 79.12, Thanksgiving, 59.38. http://www.rankopedia.com/Favorite-U.S.-Holiday/Step1/3068/.htm).
Everyone has a different intention behind why they prefer one holiday over another. But Thanksgiving seems to have such a genuine motivation. Get together with people. Contemplate the goodness in your life. Give to others. Bake. Cook. Eat. Chat.
Aside from deep grocery store discounts, Thanksgiving seems to remain somewhat untouched by the strong arm of consumerism and acquisition.
Because it's a holiday that's about being thankful, for god's sake. How uncomplicated is that?
Until this year.
This year, many of us will feel compelled to excuse ourselves from the table of thanks a bit early.
Because Black Friday (aptly named because this day puts retailers in the black) has historically unleashed the consumerism tiger.
This year, our culture is apparently deciding to open the cage of seasonal acquisition a day early.
If you haven't heard, most major retail chains and big box stores have decided to start Black Friday discount shopping on Thanksgiving.
And thankfully, a whole lot of people are fighting back.
A kind of an Occupy Thanksgiving thing, if you will.
Target employee Anthony Hardwick doesn't want to work on Thanksgiving. He wants to spend time with his family. And he's started a movement that's generated over 100,000 signatures in an attempt to convince retailers that people can wait a handful of hours so that he and everyone else can just stop and enjoy some time being thankful http://abcnews.go.com/Business/target-retail-employees-fight-thanksgiving-openings/story?id=14963563#.TsRYOGDaicc.
Regardless of how Anthony feels, some stores will be open all day on Thanksgiving.
And retailers have couched this shift by pinning it on consumer demand, but I think that's a load of crap. One Walmart exec mentioned recently that this shift was generated because customers asked for it. Because it's more convenient to stay up later rather than get up earlier.
I don't buy that line of bull.
And I'm not alone.
But the statistics tell the holiday spending tale.
Retailers generate up to 11% of holiday sales on Black Friday weekend (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2011/11/black-thursday-stores-opening-doors-on-thanksgiving-day/).
Part of me is reminded of my last entry - the one where Thanksgiving was moved up in the FDR days in order to invigorate a lifeless economy (http://paradigmthrift.blogspot.com/2011/11/let-wild-rumpus-start.html).
It all seems too coincidental.
Apparently, according to somebody, we must procure.
The sooner the better.
But we don't have to.
My only comment: STOP.
Be thankful. Revel in what you have, not what you might get at a deep discount, that you probably don't even need. Think about people who don't have, and be thankful that you do. Think about keeping your money, your time, your need to get get get.