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Thankful ... for the start of Christmas?

What am I thankful for this year? Well, let's see. There's my family, my friends, my health, the fact that I have a good job in this economy and — oh yeah — the official start of the Christmas season.

You may remember my rambling about how some people/places/businesses get Christmas going just a little too early. For me, and many others, the appropriate day to start Christmas is on Thanksgiving — or the day after.

So for the last couple of days I've been planning my leap into the holiday season. I've made a list of gifts to buy and gifts I would like (per my mother's request), I've browsed the Black Friday ads online and I've even thought about how early I will need to get up to make it to the stores before work.

And I know that on Thursday, between visits with family and some bites of Chinese food (we're going non-traditional this year), someone will have a newspaper out with all of the ads. And though we are supposed to be thinking about all that we are thankful for, really we'll just be thinking about everything we have to buy.

Is this good or bad? I'm not sure.

I feel like maybe the meaning of Thanksgiving gets a little lost each year because of our society's obsession with Christmas. I'm pretty sure the pilgrims weren't thinking about what time they would get in line to get a flat screen TV as they finished the first Thanksgiving feast. I'm also pretty sure Abraham Lincoln wasn't worried about how fast the newest laptops would sell out when he established the official holiday in 1863.

On one hand, I feel like Thanksgiving has just become a start/finish line. It's the end of the fall and the beginning of holiday shopping hysteria. It's a deadline for businesses to put forth their best deals, and it's a deadline for shoppers to have their lists in hand.

It's no longer just a day of reflection, spending time with family and enjoying good food. I mean, even the Macy's Thanksgiving parade ends with Santa Claus. He steals the turkey's thunder every time.

On the other hand, I feel like some people might need the Black Friday spirit, sales and hype.

The economy has left Christmas in limbo for too many families this year. So what if some people get up at 3 a.m. to get a deal on the hottest toy of the season? Maybe if they missed the sale, a child would have to go without on Christmas morning. Or maybe some people need those laptops to search for jobs or work from home.

I know all too well what it's like to feel hopeless heading into the holiday season. My husband was laid off the day before Thanksgiving last year. All my plans, lists and ideas for Black Friday went to waste, and I felt miserable. We still had Christmas, but my perspective on everything was drastically changed.

So if you are warming up for the shot gun start Friday morning, I won't judge you. Heck, I might even be running next to you. I just hope we can all remember those who are struggling and can't even afford the discounted gifts.

Take time to stop and truly reflect on the blessings in our lives, not just the sales in the stores. Maybe as you are grabbing that early bird special doll or train, grab an extra one to donate to a toy drive. Or after you write that big check for your post-shopping credit card bill, write another one for a local charity.

It may be Black Friday, but we can make the day bright for more than just ourselves.

Happy start of Christmas! I mean, happy Thanksgiving!


  1. I am always thankful for a talented, wonderful, and caring sister and brother-in-law...

  2. I am thankful for a brother who is obviously bias in his flattery. :)


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