A Time for Thanks

The other night I was sitting and watching television and what appeared next unsettled me a bit.  It was a commercial advertising Christmas sales.  I know that some people tend to start Christmas shopping very early, but I see more and more that an important holiday is being overlooked.  Actually, it is more than just being overlooked.  It is being reduced to advertising for Christmas sales and watching football.  How did Thanksgiving get such a bad rap?


Nowadays it seems people go out and shop on Thanksgiving, come home and eat the turkey, and then run out for more sales.  What is wrong with this picture?  Aren’t we supposed to gather together and enjoy the day with one another?  Aren’t we supposed to take some time out and ponder all of our blessings?  When did Thanksgiving cease to be a treasured holiday?  When did it become necessary for retail employees to work on a holiday and forgo their Thanksgiving dinners?  Don’t they deserve to celebrate with their loved ones?


To me what made Thanksgiving Day was the early rising at dawn, preparing the bird, making the pies and the casseroles.  When I was younger if I was allowed in the kitchen, I would assist my mother.  That was a truly valuable time and the experiences I shared with my mother gave me many wonderful memories.  As my siblings and I anxiously awaited the bird to finish cooking, we excitedly set the table to look just right.  Once the turkey was ready to be served, we all scrambled to find a seat.  Our eyes appeared to be larger than normal eagerly waiting to taste the feast before us.  Someone would always yell out that the leg was his or hers.  However, we were patient (or at least aspiring to be) and said grace first.  It was important to give thanks for the meal in front of us.  Some families still say grace and mention why they are thankful for the meal.  I say some families because a majority want to eat and then run out the door to get to those sales.  My family would have never left so easily.  We would take our time with the meal, and then afterwards we would clean up and do the dishes.  We would then wander to the living room to watch a game or a movie or in my case, fall asleep (full meals will do that to me).  Hours later we would enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie and the conversation would be flowing.  Later still, my mom and I would stay up and watch old movies.  I never felt closer to my mom then when we shared this experience.  I still watch old movies to this day, but I feel a slight pang knowing my mother is not physically there with me, yet I do feel her presence and that is comforting in and of itself.


When I was little we celebrated Thanksgiving and did not talk about Christmas until after the holiday passed.  It was then that as we ate leftovers (which seemed to go on forever), we watched Christmas specials (Rudolph and Frosty) and then decorated the house for the next holiday, Christmas.  We never thought about going to a sale on Thanksgiving.


I am not against celebrating or getting ready for the holidays, but let us take a moment and enjoy the holiday before us.  Let us appreciate all that we have and reflect on why we should be so thankful.  We have a golden opportunity in front of us and yet, we are willing to toss it aside just to get ready for the next big holiday.  Shame on retailers and on consumers who want to seek monetary gain and sacrifice a time for all of us to be able to get together with family and friends.  I can understand those who are in the emergency profession having to work, but retailers?  Really?  Are we salivating at the choice products being dangled in front of us or should we be salivating at the succulent turkey (who gave up his life for us to enjoy this very day) properly positioned at the family table sitting there for us to gobble it up?


No gift can take the place of this for me.  I would rather invest my time in preparing a meal made out of love and for those I treasure.  Getting together and celebrating, embracing one another, laughing and taking the time to see how everyone is doing.  Partaking in games or watching movies together seem to be more worthwhile then rushing off to go to a sale.


Trust me I can find gifts anytime, but this could be the last time I may see someone.  Do I really want to live with regret in passing up an opportunity with my loved ones just so I can save money at a sale?


Take a moment and think about what this day means to you.  Decide if you would rather enjoy the company of family and friends or the cold impersonal greeting at a department store?  Then take a look around and acknowledge those who do not have this opportunity to celebrate.  They are forgotten or alone and many would give all they have to share a moment with someone they love.  Out of the peace of the season, no matter what your choice, I am wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  In my heart, I know deep down I have so much to be thankful for and I am so lucky to have family to share it with.   And to those who do not have anyone, I pray that we all find room at our tables or that we make the time to prepare a meal for those in need.

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