Back when I was a young boy, Thanksgiving was a really big deal. It wasn't just Black Friday Eve, or the day that people sat in front of the Television with a plate of food, watching every mind numbing football game that your 200 - Plus television channels will bring you. It was a time to be with your family and enjoy a big meal together. It was a time to reflect on everything that you were thankful for. People got dressed for dinner. Mom and the other women of the family would start cooking and baking days in advance whatever they could, so that the family could sit and enjoy each other's company. No one worked, except for certain utility workers, and people that worked in movie theaters. Some businesses were open early in the day, but all shut down by 1 PM. We had blue laws in those days which required most businesses to be closed. We could not even buy gasoline after 1 PM. What you had was a government mandated day that families could spend together. If you had a television, it was an old B&W set for most of us, and it was turned off after the Macy's Parade was over. Sometimes the kids were allowed to watch the holiday fare that was offered; usually Babes In Toyland, or something similar. The point is, the family was together, and it was a day of good cheer and thankfulness for what we had, including each other. These were good years to grow up in. Your mother or father, or both, did not have to go off to work in the local department store, so that the owners of the store could get a jump on the Christmas sales. The people that ran the businesses back then knew that they would make plenty of money after Thanksgiving, and despite what you hear from year to year, they always do make a lot of money. These days, though, there is a lot of hand wringing about how much they made or didn't make over last year. It's always "More, More, MORE!!!" Sometime, in the years that followed my childhood and young adult years, the blue laws were lifted in many locations. The big stores started out opening their doors Thanksgiving night. That wasn't good enough... over the past couple of years now, they are open Thanksgiving Day. No longer required to close by law, they open all day, and some actually are open for 24 hours, and they force their employees to work. No more family time. The hell with you and your family time. You either come in and work, or you don't have a job... it's that simple. The men and women who run these corporations don't care about the individuals who work for them. To them, they are just means to an end, and that end is to make as much money as they possibly can. It doesn't matter to them, because they will be off that day, having dinner with family and friends, with not a thought for the public that makes them their millions except as people to be used and extorted in any way that they can. People losing their jobs means nothing to them, no more than changing a lightbulb that no longer works. Corporations have lost the humanity that it took to build them in the first place. They are soulless entities that are incapable of caring about the people that work for them.
If only we would, as a unified people, take a stand and not go to their sales. If only we would send them the message that families and family time together is important, that the meaning of Thanksgiving is not shopping for the best deals that you can get. It's about being thankful for living in a free country where you can spend time with your family and friends a few precious times a year. It's about being together as a family for at least one day a year, taking the time from our increasingly busy lives, to enjoy each other's company and reflect on how lucky we all are to have a family. I will tell you one thing: No one in my family will be patronizing any of these stores on Thanksgiving. Whether or not they celebrate with many, or a few, they will celebrate the holiday. How about all of you?