*Edited to add: If you plan to comment, please read the entire post in its entirety and not comment based on the title. It’s obvious many aren’t reading and purely spewing. Offensive language will be deleted.

I rarely shop. I cut coupons and save pennies, but I’m seeing a swirl of hypocrisy about this incredibly fueled shopping debate.

It started slowly a month or so again;  a facebook share that once again touted the evils of shopping on Thanksgiving. My heart squeezed a bit because I knew I’ve been guilty and wondered how I was falling prey to the “lowly materialistic consumerism” I was accused of participating in?

One commenter even stated, “This is what is breaking family traditions apart.”

Yes, this conservative mom of five, who touts the importance of family traditions, strong values and less spending, has shopped on Thanksgiving. As I hear the collective gasp,  I ask us to look beyond just the shopping debate.

The strength of our family, our attitude on spending and materialism, the core values of what we hold dear is not determined by whether or not we step foot into a shop one day of the year.

Many are stating that Thanksgiving shopping is an integral part of the slowly eradicating family values that were once held dear as a nation, but where is that cry on every other traditional, family holiday?

How is it that we are so fueled up about this one day, but on so many other key family issues, all is quiet? Where is that passion throughout the year?

Those values start at home. They begin with laying a solid foundation each and every day, not laying a few bricks whipped out on the last Thursday of November.

As I’ve scrolled through posts by friends, sentiments were shared that shopping on Thanksgiving allows for shallow materialism, disrespect of family values in the U.S.,  no thought for the employees that are forced to work, but it was this final paragraph printed in Times.com which promoted this post.

The author states, “But what I want to do is encourage people to look at the bigger work-life picture. Giving up our holidays can negatively impact our well-being and our personal and family lives. Creating traditions with our children and continuing traditions with our elders can also suffer.”

I actually agree with that.

Family traditions play a huge role in our family life, in fact we prioritize them throughout the year. We value debt free living and not putting an emphasis on “stuff.” The majority of my blog is based on instilling these values throughout the entire year.

But if we equate one of the reasons to the demise of the family to shopping on one holiday, we are in serious trouble because it’s such a bigger issue than one shopping day.

It needs to start every day. 

Thanksgiving is one day that we should celebrate. One day that we should give thanks, and while I understand what the above graphic is trying to encourage, we should be cultivating these days of gratitude year round!

Since one of the premises of this debate, a consumerist mentality and greed, then should we really be ok with going out on Friday, loading up on consumer debt and going crazy one day later?

Strong family ties aren’t built in one day. Gratitude isn’t instilled in an hour. Materialism doesn’t manifest itself from a few hours of shopping.

How about we focus our energies on what makes a solid family on the other 364 days of the year? How about we incorporate meaningful traditions throughout the entire year? (See the hundreds of tradition ideas I share here.)

How about we realize Thanksgiving as a symbolic day to give thanks, but instill that attitude every day.  Those Thanksgiving traditions can occur on a Saturday as easily as a Thursday. It’s about what works best for every family and for us, since we travel out of town as an extended family, our traditional day is Saturday.

Our Thanksgiving day is packed with meaningful traditions in the mountains, playing in a park, buying mountain apples and we celebrate our traditional thanksgiving meal on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. So while everyone else is out shopping that day, we are home around the table giving thanks as a family.

Does setting aside that day two days later make it less important? 

I think we may be getting caught up on THEE Thursday. Let’s permeate our homes with a sense of gratitude that oozes from all aspects of life, not just a few casual “Thanks for food, family and friends” that find their way only around the Thanksgiving dinner table.

(Although in our family, this pictures shows that Thanksgiving is one of our most meaningful traditions of the year. We happen to celebrate it the Saturday after Thanksgiving.)

I’m a causal oriented girl and I’m all for standing behind my opinions, but does the possibility exist that often we care more about the “Cause?”

Before we climb on our next soapbox  (and please know, I’m all about appropriate soap boxes – I’m the girl who stopped shopping at Target for a season when they wouldn’t’ say “Merry Christmas), think how we could invest those energies into making a dynamic difference in our own family or community. How can we make a tangible difference today?

Spending time creating care packages for the homeless, sharing blessing baskets with local refugees or honestly, unplugging and spending more intentional time fighting for your family meal time and sharing meaningful conversation around the dinner table are hands on ways to make a difference as well. Let’s stop talking about it, and do it!

Would I be fine with every store being closed on Thanksgiving and applaud the new directions our country is taking if that was the case?

Absolutely. I’d be thrilled. That is my desire,  but we get so passionate about this topic and forgot about the important needs of our nation year round. It’s not a one and done kind of gratitude day.

The one point I haven’t addressed are those that are forced to work on Thanksgiving  when they don’t want to. I understand that and am empathetic to that dilemma.  For years, I worked every Thanksgiving when I didn’t want to, but I was so thankful to have a job, pay my bills, and get a little extra bonus. I can’t speak to those being forced to work every single holiday or the threat of being fired, but honestly, I plan on polling my local box store employees to find those statistics. That didn’t happen at my place of employment. When I adjusted my bad attitude to align with the fact that Thanksgiving is a day on a calendar and our family can have a meaningful day together the next day, there was freedom to show gratitude for the gift of work, when so many didn’t have any.  We’ve lived through long periods of unemployment that have turned our lives upside down. I would have loved to have the option to work on a holiday, but I know that doesn’t make people feel better as they head to work.

Believe it or not, for the past 19 years, our extended family has celebrated our traditional thanksgiving meal on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, proving that with flexibility comes great freedom.

So, for those of you who want to boycott Black Thanksgiving and take it back, go for it, I support that because you’re right, if the only reason people shop is due to a heart of greed, anyone can wait one more day, but let’s make sure that you are as passionate about elevating cultural change in our nation the rest of the year.

For the rest of you, if you see a few ladies  laughing hysterically in line that just might be my extended family, and for this me, who could care less about shopping and half the time leaves the store empty handed, it’s been quite eye opening. We stay in a mountain hotel on Thanksgiving, so we spend the day around the fire, hiking in the beautiful mountains, buy some mountain apples and enjoy the local shops which choose to stay open.

This extended family of mine, we understand the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Our family tapestry is woven with an overwhelming gift consisting of family traditions and I know whether we walk in a store on Thanksgiving day or not, those will stand firm.

So celebrate, enjoy, eat at home, eat at a restaurant, spend time with family, shop;  just remember to whom and for whom our gratitude should be focused.

Let’s not make this about just one day. 

So I’m stepping back from the rotten tomatoes now, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

Remember, this little corner of the blogosphere welcomes the beauty and the bedlam, so I’m all about varying opinions where we can agree to disagree in a respectful manner. All others will be deleted.

For many Thanksgiving tradition ideas, browse here.

One of the most special traditions ever - gratitude rolls! Don't miss blessing your family! (This is the original source.)

Gratitude Rolls – unique idea to do any time of the year.

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