Thoughts On Thanksgiving- Part I

Thanksgiving  2008
OK, now I'm going to sound like the Old Man that I am. This is about Thanksgiving, after all, and Thanksgiving is an old tradition that dates back to Abraham Lincoln. So if you get bored with old-timer stories, hang in there, because this is going somewhere, and I have something to say.
  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?


  1. Its time we get back to what is really important in life, and let me tell you its NOT the money, the job or the sales.

    Today we seem to take for granted that there is always tomorrow, and tomorrow is not what matters because tomorrow may not come for some. Love your family, spend time with them, give them this one day.

    Celebrate or don't celebrate the holiday, but allow those that choose to do so do it with their family. Because as I know all to well, that family will not be there some day, and like me, you will all be saddened by the loss of your loved ones even more so on these days.

    1. To your comment, all I can add is, don't I know it. It get's very lonely when your family is gone.

  2. A lot of supermarkets will be open, for a limited time, on Thanksgiving. I have mixed emotions on that, feeling for the employees but thinking as well of those people who might be working multiple jobs and have limited time to pull a family dinner together.

    I agree with you, John. Reading your words took me back to holidays where, if something was forgotten from the shopping list, you did without; there was no running out to any store! Those days, well, they seemed sacred and I imagined the world moving a little slower as families everywhere gathered together.

    As business owners, my husband and I have never, ever, opened on any holiday, even through these last few difficult economic years. No purchase is that important, that much of a saving, to mandate shopping on Thanksgiving. Don't even get me started on the Black Friday insanity where less than 24 hours after giving thanks, people are on lines, trying to kill each other, and over what? A flat screen television that will be cheaper the day after Christmas than it was the day after Thanksgiving?

    I've said this to you before, John...I weep for the future of our children and grandchildren. My hope is that they hold onto the values with which they were raised and cherish what family really means.

    Thanksgiving Blessings to you and your beautiful family!

    1. The same to you, hon. My remarks were against the corporations that have lost their humanity, not against business owners. I remember back when I worked for a couple of small businesses in the mid '70s. Those men were really good to us around the holidays; as good as their limited budgets would allow. There was never any talk about opening up; rather, the talk turned to getting us off the job early on the day before. Times have changed, I'm afraid. We must all keep the memory alive, so that, hopefully one day, the pendulum will swing back the other way. Enjoy your Thanksgiving, Patty. I am working on Part II of my Thanksgiving Blog. If I work it out, I will publish it later on tonight.

  3. The good old five and dime would never open on a Sunday unless you were desperate and the local cops called the owner. Same with the pharmacy or grocery store but we always seemed to have enough at hand. Doctors paid house calls, too, even on holidays but - most of all - it was so nice to just 'hear' the quiet outside 'cause everything was closed.


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