What Happened to Thanksgiving?

Whatever happened to the all-American holiday of Thanksgiving? You remember – handprint turkeys, Pilgrims and Indians, and waiting impatiently until you were old enough to graduate from the kids’ table to the adult table.

Looking at retailers today, you would think that the calendar went straight from October 31 to December. We faced an onslaught of ghoulish looking creatures in October, replaced abruptly with singing Santas and elves the day after Halloween. The Christmas buying campaign was in full swing, in some cases, before the pumpkins and spiderwebs disappeared. Thanksgiving, one of the few truly American historical holidays seems to have been lost in the dust. I walked into one of the large national craft stores in early November and found row upon row of every Christmas craft and decoration imaginable. Fall decorations were long gone, and after some searching, I found one shelf with a few turkeys and Pilgrims.

You would think that a holiday created in memory of the people who fought incredible odds to survive their first year in this land would be worthy of continued recognition. That promoting thankfulness would be encouraged as a positive “family value”. But alas, too much thankfulness is bad for business. After all, why buy new toys for Christmas when you are so thankful for your old ones? We can’t encourage contentment with what we have or sales of the latest flat screen tv’s will drop.

I wonder what the current economic crisis would look like if more greedy mortgage brokers had contemplated Thankfulness every year instead of dollar signs? If more potential homeowners had been thankful for the home they could pay for instead of reaching for the big one they knew they couldn’t really afford?

So I propose that we fight the big retailers and refuse to ignore Thanksgiving. Pause during the month of November to reflect on all the blessings in your life and celebrate Thanksgiving with family or friends. Spend the day next Thursday being thankful for whom and what you have. And if you’re tempted to grumble as you fight the crowds on Black Friday, be thankful that you have the money to spend.

Happy Thanksgiving!

2 thoughts on “What Happened to Thanksgiving?

  1. I too have wondered why Thanksgiving has been pushed aside. Try as I might, it’s difficult to avoid the tide that sweeps us towards Christmas too early for my taste. There is even a local radio station that starts playing constant Christmas music at the beginning of November! At our house, we do our best to talk about Thanksgiving, do crafts, read stories, all to avoid it until at least the week after. Our preschool helps in that they do a wonderful Thanksgiving program that highlights the beginnings and the true spirit of being thankful. btw, my husband works for one of the national craft chains you mentioned. He starts getting Christmas merchandise at the end of August! Love your blog.

  2. Thanks, Angie! Glad to know I’m not the only one who’s been wondering about this. Happy Thanksgiving – and I hope I didn’t insult your husband! 🙂

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