Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Take time to give thanks before hitting stores

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 20, 2012 at 5:20 a.m.
Updated Nov. 21, 2012 at 5:21 a.m.

OK, America. It's time to take a good, hard look at ourselves.

We realize Americans love to shop. Our consumer-based culture is famous worldwide. But that does not mean it's OK for the retail industry to infringe on our holidays.

For years, people have complained about how Christmas has been creeping steadily forward in the yearly retail market. Many stores don't even wait for the Halloween decorations to come down before Christmas items hit the shelves. And then there is always the insanity known as Black Friday.

But this year, it's not Black Friday. Technically, it's Black Thursday. Some major retailers have decided to open their doors not at midnight, as in previous years, but as early at 8 p.m. Thursday to meet customers' apparently insatiable hunger for deals.

This development is both distressing and disappointing for us. Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be a day for people to spend with family and share their gratitude for all the good things in their lives, no matter how plentiful or few those things may be. But this year, rather than being able to sit back, visit with family, watch the big game and digest the turkey and dressing, people will be rushing out the door, if they even take the time for Thanksgiving dinner.

What is happening to us? Americans used to value Thanksgiving. It was a day dedicated to examining our lives and appreciating what we had. We could reconnect with family and enjoy a day of feasting and rest. Today, it seems we don't have time for gratitude because all the things we don't have yet are on sale.

This is not the first time the question of commercialism vs. holidays has come up. As far back as 1965, Charlie Brown was lamenting the commercialism of Christmas, and the problem has only intensified with the passing of time. Americans have become so wrapped up in being consumers that we forget to be friends and families.

Why do retailers think it is OK to infringe on our Thanksgiving Day? Because we allow them to. Every year, people have lined up for hours trying to beat everyone else to that one item we absolutely can't live without. In truth, our willingness to set everything else aside, including our time expressing gratitude and building relationships with friends and family, is why retailers continue to push the envelope and teach us to expect "great deals" as a reward for dropping everything that really matters and shopping at their store.

This year, we encourage our readers to make sure they take the time to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day. That doesn't mean you shouldn't go shopping on Black Friday, but we hope you will invest in the things that really matter first. You may collect all the stuff in the world, but without someone to share it with, what's the point?

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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