I had the occasion to read and view some interesting posts this morning. One was from Nordstrom stating that they will “deck their halls” on the day after Thanksgiving. The other was in reference to someone ranting about Starbucks offering a plain red holiday cup and how it offended their Christianity in that it failed to say anything about Christmas in written form.
The irony is that the retailer chose to honor a time of thanks and the ranter road past Thanksgiving and went directly to Christmas.
[Just a little reminder here-today is only November 9.]
A number of facebook-ers responded positively to those posts, relieved, I believe, that finally, someone is standing up to the burial of the Thanksgiving Holiday.
Added to this mélange, I passed a house sporting a lovely harvest flag and a very large, deflated turkey, and not a Christmas decoration in sight!
Here is my conclusion–I’m thinking that there might be a movement to reclaim thanksgiving.
In the US, the Thanksgiving holiday has become primarily about families gathering; large newspapers filled with Christmas shopping ads; non-stop Black Friday promos on television; all day football games; and a great deal of food and over-eating.
As of late, the perceived need for the best shopping and consuming deals have crept into this day as well, translating to many big box stores and malls opening their doors on what was one of the last opportunities of a paid holiday off and real family time for many Americans.
The Thanksgiving Holiday premise also holds a narrative that raises anger and bitterness in folks who feel that the plight of the Native peoples was rewritten in our history books–you know, the pilgrims bring a turkey and the Indians provide the corn and cranberry and everyone shares a meal and is happy.
[There is good reason for this anger, btw, and that is cause for another story in a separate posting sometime.]
So here we have a national, family holiday built on the construct of people working and playing well together sometime 400 years ago, that has been overrun with consumerism, gladiating and “pigging out.”
I am not completely jaded, just reporting my observations. That said, I do love this holiday and know this much in my experience:
- Contrived or not, the idea of being grateful for survival in a new land is not a bad thing. Recognizing that ideas and skills may have been shared in that struggle to survive is really something to learn from and to grow in our world today.
- Sharing a meal and spending time with people we love is sacred. [Yes, I always eat too many sweet potatoes. I am guilty of “pigging out.“]
- Some of my family enjoy the gladiating/football and the shopping plans; I love to chat with my relatives while digesting.
Might I simply suggest that we tone down a bit, relax, enjoy the meal, enjoy each other, save the gift buying for the next day and find something for which we can say, “Thank You.”
And whether you are harvesting or planting, American or of another nation, with or without family, Christian or not, might we each seek to foster some gratitude in our lives this month?
Life is not a bowl of cranberries for everyone. I am not that naive. But I suspect that if we each stop and dig inside, we might surface something for which we can sincerely be grateful.
A little gratitude goes a long way in living well.
Let’s try, ok?