I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. Many of us, in fact, have said it. “The stores put up (or put out) Christmas stuff earlier and earlier each year.” A variation is this: “What happened to Thanksgiving?!?” Let me be clear from the beginning of this reflection: yes, retailers bear some responsibility for the annual lengthening of the Christmas shopping season. I believe, however, that also at fault are the people who respond to retailers by shopping earlier and earlier each year. If we stop shopping early, guess what’s going to eventually happen? The stores’ Christmas decorating and shelf-stocking will be delayed.
I’m more passionate about this issue this year (vs. last year) because of TV ads promoting “Black Friday” specials beginning on Thursday evening — Thanksgiving. Really? I understand that there are discounts, I understand the desire to buy high-demand items before they are unavailable, I understand that parents want to make sure their kids get what they want; however, all of this suggests that Christmas is all about material things. All of this suggests that on Thanksgiving evening, “things” are more important than “people.”
Just say “no” to shopping on Thanksgiving. Resist the temptation to turn a holiday for giving thanks into a holiday for getting deals. If you’re reading this after Thanksgiving 2013, make a commitment to delay shopping next year. And the year after that. And the year after that …
Giving thanks is good for our souls. No, not everything we have experienced in the last year has been to our liking, and so we generally don’t see those things as gifts. God, however, gives us what we need for our salvation — the good, the not-so-good. And for that, we can be truly grateful.