Last night, I read an article about JCPenney opening on Thanksgiving Day at 8pm. It angered me, because more and more, consumerism has taken over a holiday that has been set aside for giving thanks for what we have. It’s bad enough that the slavering mob of consumers get front page coverage every Friday after Thanksgiving, now we have to put up with the same greed on Thanksgiving Day? Not even one day can be set aside to simply reflect on what we have rather than on what we desire?
Even more insidiously, it compounds the plague of materialism that has subverted Christmas. A day set aside to celebrating someone who valued the poor and despised over the rich and well respected has become an orgy of overspending and avarice that is unmatched. That kind of hypocrisy rankles me. No, it infuriates me.
My greatest memories of Christmas have absolutely nothing to do with the accumulation of stuff. I remember things like walking in the snow after a midnight service, the town so quiet it felt as if I could hear the snow hitting the ground. I remember the smell of meals made by my Grandmothers, my mom and my sisters. I remember how important I felt when I was allowed to sit and talk with the adults.
I do love the pageantry and decorations of the holidays.: look forward to the costumes and silly fun of Halloween, adore the family time and meals and sense of charity at Thanksgiving, and love the kindness, memories and joy of Christmas.
But this consumerism has me furious enough that I am asking my friends and family to join me in doing all they can to avoid patronizing stores that open on Thanksgiving Day. Shop locally, shop smaller stores, or shop stores that respect their employees and customers enough to allow them one day to not think about buying their crap. The only way we can end this is to stop feeding the beast. If we don’t show up, they have no reason to be open. If we don’t patronize them because of their misguided greed, we send a message that they have to hear and take back Thanksgiving.
I also am writing to local news stations to ask them to limit their coverage of Black Friday or at least balance it with stories about how these store openings adversely affect us. All the current coverage does is fan the flames of greed. Who needs it? And why do stores get the free advertising?
I understand that the chances of this having any effect are about the same as a snowball surviving a trip to Hades, but we have to be the change we want to effect. I’m starting here. I hope you decide to join me.