I love Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite holidays, partially because I feel like it really shows that Americans are mensches through and through. Once a year, we stop what we are doing, make a communal meal, and give a big thank you for all the good things in our lives. And we do this on a national scale. How cool is that?
But in my lifetime, Thanksgiving day has gone from being solely a time for family and giving thanks to a day of shopping and material (as opposed to food) consumption. How did that happen? Why is a day that is theoretically all about recognizing what abundance we have in our lives becoming just another day to want more of what we don't have?
It has bothered me for years when stores would open on Black Friday at 5 am and earlier, because it meant that some families had to cut their celebrations short in order to get up for the deals. But now some retailers are opening on Thanksgiving Day itself, meaning that their employees can't celebrate with their families--and that retailers are bringing consumerism into the only national opportunity for gratitude that Americans observe. This just isn't right.
Let's all be mensches this year. Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast. Smile tolerantly at your uncle who likes to needle you about politics. Give thanks for all the wonderful opportunities and blessings you have.
Save your shopping for tomorrow.
If we refuse to let materialism encroach on one of the sweetest days of the American calendar, retailers will stop opening on Thanksgiving. And for at least one day a year, we can focus on what's really important: stuffing ourselves silly.
This (aspiring) mensch hopes you have a very happy and meaningful Thanksgiving!