When I think of Thanksgiving, I usually think of getting together with my family, eating tons and tons of food and sleeping it all off at the end of the day. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate family friendship and all the blessing we have been giving in this life. The whole slaughtering of innocent Native Americans and stealing their land is a also on my mind as well.
But none of this is really what businesses want us to think about. Halloween ended a short few weeks ago and Thanksgiving is a week away, but most retail stores have not let those two holidays stand in their way of reminding you that Christmas is on its way. They aren’t reminding us about the need to remember the savior and celebrate his birth. No. They want to remind us that we need to buy presents for everyone. We need to spend cash and lots of it. Not for some greater good of society but to line the pockets of investors in a down economy.
For many many years we have lived with a plague that hits us every year at Thanksgiving time. No it isn’t flu season. No it is a disease called “Black Friday”. This day, the Friday following Thanksgiving, is when most retail stores hold some of their biggest sales of the year. They pull out all the stops in the rush to sell as much junk as possible in the run up to Christmas.
In years past, most stores would open several hours earlier in order to accommodate the additional traffic on that day. People line up for hours just to rush in and try to buy that Tickle Me Elmo, or Furbie or Zhu Zhu Pet. The freeze their butts off to worship not the Savior of mankind but the retail gods of Walmart, Target and Best Buy. This year, the retail gods demand more from their acolytes. They demand their Thanksgiving.
You see, retail stores all over the US have decided to open up not at 4am, 3am, 2 am or even 1 am. No they are opening up at 12am. They want people to leave the comforts of their homes, relatives’ homes or where ever one may be celebrating this holiday of thanks to line up outside the doors and worship at the alter of retail. They don’t want your mind contemplating that there are things to be thankful for during this rough economy. They want your mind on your Black Friday battle plans. Which stores will you hit, in what order. Which store do you worship the hardest enough to stand outside it from 8pm on thanksgiving til open hour.
This is not how one should celebrate the holidays. This is a travesty of all we should hold dear. I have gone out a single time on Black Friday. That was enough for me. Sure I got some decent deals, but they really weren’t anything special that could not have been had other times of the year with careful frugality. Why the need to rush off to the commercialization of Christmas? I am in no hurry. I want to take my time and ponder on the meaning of the Savior’s birth, life, death, resurrection and mission. I don’t need to line up outside retail stores to do that. That is what church, the scriptures and prophets are for.
So let us all take the time to contemplate the meaning of the holidays and why the world wants us focused on the commercial side of them. What really matters in the grand scheme of things?