*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.
I’m one of “those people” who values tradition over commercialism. I’m okay with that. I’m also okay with the people who aren’t. It saddens me that materialism and commercialism have become forefront in this country, and I do wish we could go back to simpler values, but that just doesn’t seem likely 🙁
I fully expected to see lots of justifications for it. Yes, it’s just one day. But it used to be one special day. One family day. One day of giving thanks. One day of valuing something besides materialism. Our country values materialism, commercialism, profits, and STUFF every other day of the year. Can’t we get just ONE DAY of valuing family and tradition instead? It’s just one day that some of us are asking for. But it’s quickly being taken away. Because yes, in this case, the majority rules. The day is slowly being taken away from all of us as more and more businesses are being open, etc.
Sally, I agree with you 100%. I value tradition over materialism too, but my point is that it’s not about it being on that specific Thursday. While everyone else might be out shopping on Sat, we are gathered around the table having our Thanksgiving meal, but I understand your point too.
Thanksgiving is a national holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Whatever your family happens to do 2 days later, it is NOT Thanksgiving. I’m sure you don’t celebrate Christmas on December 27. The fact that you and your family, and many others, are willing to go out and shop on Thanksgiving Day, prevents retail workers from celebrating with THEIR families, on one of the few days of the year when nearly everyone (except emergency workers) does not have to work. And your justification, that perhaps retail workers should be happy that they have a job, is exactly the sort of mindset that leads to abuses of low income, minimum wage workers by some of the largest retailers in this country.
@jes, Im with Jes on this one she said it perfectly. The fact that you had to create this lengthy post to justify your greed for shopping on Thursday instead of Friday is simply sad because you are only thinking of yourself and not the workers. You are part of the problem and should be using your voice and dollars to help move the shopping day back to Friday to that the national holiday can be remembered for its purpose. Being thankful for what you already have instead of breeding for things you don’t need or could wait a day to get.
hi Meghan – I think you skimmed my post and aren’t familiar with my blog based on your comment, but that’s social media, I get that. I support a family owned business on Thanksgiving who chooses to stay open and they’re so grateful for every person that walks through the door. I want people to think beyond just this one day. How are we cultivating a spirit of gratitude beyond one day? If people were as passionate about this topic, as they were on raising the next generation to care for others, give generously, avoid consumer debt etc, we would be in such a good place.
@jes, Actually, Jes, I have celebrated Christmas on December 26, 27, and 28th (in different years) due to travel and working in the public sector. Many people who are doctors, nurses, police, ambulance, EMT, military, etc. have celebrated holidays on days other than the “official” day. In my humble opinion, the holiday is celebrated in your heart with your family no matter the day. I feel we need to be thankful every day – not just one day a year. There is nothing that says you can’t celebrate Thanksgiving in May or Christmas in March if you and your family need/want to. There are many people who can’t be with their family on that specific day and are fine with working on the “holiday”. If you don’t want to shop on Thanksgiving, don’t – but quit heaping guilt on those that chose to. (In case you are wondering, no I won’t be, but I respect those that chose to.)
@jes, Actually, when our family decides to celebrate on December 26, we ARE celebrating Christmas no matter what “The rest of the world” calls it. I don’t need the rest of the world to define my holidays for me.
Some people celebrate Sabbath on Friday night–>Saturday. Some Celebrate on Sunday.
*GasP* Some areas even legislate that they are going to “celebrate” Halloween on a different day than October 31!
I have known several people who offer to work holidays and are happy to do it. Sometimes the extra work that others don’t want are what helps them to give for Christmas.
I don’t believe it matters what day you celebrate. It’s about the spirit of the celebration. If it were all about being the right day, I probably never would have celebrated a birthday in my life as the weather is always horrible on my birthday. If you couldn’t get to your family on Christmas (snowed in for example) would you just return the gifts you got for people since you missed the holiday? What does it matter what day you choose to stop and give “Thanks”. It’s sad that we don’t take more time to be grateful for what we have.
I think if we all spent more time being thankful for what we have and concentrating on our own families, we would have a lot less time to spend judging what everyone else does.
There is never going to be a time when everyone stops shopping on day as long as the store is open. Does avoiding the stores make the workers lives any better? To me, a day at work with nothing to do would make the day drag. I have actually gone into stores (not buying anything at the time) and taken in homemade cookies and wished people a Happy Thanksgiving.
Don’t think that those people working on Thanksgiving have any better time at work just because you didn’t walk in the door. They are still there while others are at home celebrating. What’s wrong with going into the store and spreading some of you holiday spirit with people who can’t be with their families.
If it were me, I think I would rather work Thanksgiving than have to work in the insanity that comes the day after. It’s all about what is in your heart, not where you are, who you are with, and whether you walk into a store! If you are greedy, then it is because you have greed in your heart, not because you shopped on Thursday. Were you ever really thankful at all if you staying home on Thursday, but were shoving people around and cursing and starting fights on Friday.
@jes, I just checked, and my husband’s family will be celebrating Christmas on December 27th this year. Another side of the family will be the 25th. Another branch is usually around New Year’s, depending on work schedules. It’s more important to have the family together than to have it on the proper date.
When I was growing up, I was used to my mom having to work on holidays (intensive care nurse at a hospital). Then I graduated from college and it was my turn to work holidays. My job? Broadcast engineer for a TV network. I’m sure there are more 24/7/365 jobs out there than most people realize.
Another thing about Thanksgiving, specifically. During college, our extended family had Christmas in August a couple times. First for my cousin, who was leaving to study abroad in the fall, and then for me, when I did. It was really wonderful! The only thing that was different was the weather. And honestly, those August Thanksgivings were extra nice, because nobody had schedule conflicts. My cousins were all there with their significant others, and nobody had to leave early to get to the next dinner. Or to get to bed early to shop black Friday sales.
@Jen, @jes Actually, yes we have also celebrated Christmas on a different day and Thanksgiving. why? because our family is military and it is not always possible to celebrate the holiday on that specific day. i agree with her that the day does not matter, we celebrate it together on a different day and give thanks that we are together celebrating no matter what the day. and there are a lot of other jobs that do NOT get the job off that work around this and celebrate the holiday on a different day.
Carol – If you bothered to read my parenthetical I think I was quite clear in recognizing that some emergency workers (police, fire, medical, military) do not have the choice to take off Thanksgiving due to the critical nature of their jobs. My criticism was directed at those who have a CHOICE and choose to engage in commercial activities on Thanksgiving Day. And for those who feel somehow that this is inevitable, think back to 10 or 15 years ago when shopping Thanksgiving was impossible. Somehow the American economy managed to survive.
I REALLY HOPE THAT ALL THE PEOPLE THAT BOYCOTT STORES FOR BEING OPEN ON THANKSGIVING, ARE ALSO BOYCOTTING FOOTBALL/ WATCHING FOOTBALL AND WATCHING THE MACYS THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE. I HOPE NONE OF YOU GO TO THE STORE THANKSGIVING DAY TO PICK UP ANYTHING FORGOTTEN WHILE DOING YOUR SHOPPING FOR THE MEAL. THESE ARE ALL MASSIVE MONEY MAKERS ALSO TAKING AWAY FAMILY TIME ON THANKSGIVING.
ALSO, THERE ARE TONS OF OTHER PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF THE RETAIL WORLD WORKING ON THANKSGIVING. I AGREE WITH THE ARTICLE 100% PERCENT, WHILE I WILL NOT BE OUT SHOPPING THANKSGIVING DAY OR EVENING, IF I NEEDED TO GO OUT AND GET SOMETHING, I WOULDN’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT.
This is not just a day we celebrate as a family but as a nation. There are so few things that we all agree on let’s keep this day as a special reminder that as a country we need to be thankful to God for all that he has given us. If this day becomes less special through commercialism it will soon fade away entirely and then what’s next? Christmas? Will we decide to celebrate that day any time it’s convenient as well?
Yay! My sentiments exactly – and very well said! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
this issues isn’t just about your family, or the families of those that choose to shop on Thanksgiving. Its about the employees who are required to come in and work on a national holiday (1 of only 2 that most retailers have traditionally been closed on) so the companies they work for can stay in the black… for me that’s the issue at heart and why i choose not to shop on Thanksgiving… i refuse to give my money to companies that value the dollar over their employees time with their families.
And I worked retail for 7 years and MOST of the employees that come in to work on holidays are not paid time and a half (because they are PT) and do not volunteer…
@kelsey, She addressed that in her post. Basically, they should follow her example and be thankful they have a job and not have a bad attitude if they have to work on Thanksgiving.
@Sally Webster, That seems like a pretty unsympathetic elitist attitude to have toward generally low wage employees. Christian values?
As someone who has worked retail, and has family members who are nurses and my brother is a flight attendant and many family members who work retail they are all thankful for having jobs but as a retail worker they tend not to be treated very well by consumers and their employers, they will work long and hard hours both Thursday and Friday of thanksgiving now and many will work that weekend to as crazy shoppers act like small children. Your attitude towards them is sad. I have never had a issue telling my kids why their nurse grandma missed a holiday or had to leave early but I don’t know what to tell them about grandpa since how to you tell them that ones need to shop is more important then family traditions.
I agree Kelsey. If one would like to shop on Thanksgiving, go on the Internet. It’s not fair to expect people that are already making next to nothing to have to give up one of the only days a year we can expect stores to be closed.
But shopping on the internet (or even using the internet, or the electricity in your home, or water, or…) causes people to have to work on Thanksgiving.
The retailers have to have people available to troubleshoot any ONLINE store issues at all times. The electric company has to have people working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year so that we can power our homes to enjoy that amazing meal with our family.
There is next to to nothing that we do that doesn’t require some people to sacrifice something so that we can do it. It’s how our modern economy works.
I was a Hospice Nurse for many years. I have worked my share of holidays receiving at least time and a half overtime or in some cases double time. Due to this many nurses I worked with volunteered to work the holiday for the extra money.
Having said that, essential services do need to be staffed on a Holiday. Target? Walmart? I don’t think so.
And in response to the snarky Internet support comment. Yes, someone from IT needs to monitor the accounts, but they will be working any way.
@Rachel, that is a straw man argument. There is a substantial difference between basic necessities and emergency services and plain unnecessary consumerism. There is simply no comparison.
I do see your point and as someone all about my family it is true one day will not teach those values. But I have to respectfully disagree. I will not be partaking in thanksgiving or black Friday for that matter either. I look around and I see people off their rockers fighting and acting stupid over “stuff” and I just don’t want to be a party to it in any way shape or form. But this is how I deal with it. Obviously not for everyone. Do we draw the line only at those who work retail though? What about the restaurant worker, gas station attendant, & others who work this holiday as well as the others? Your post certainly gives me something to think about.
That’s what this post is about. Just getting us thinking. We spend Thanksgiving in a small mountain town, so we haven’t seen the crazy as much. I might change my tune if that’s all we saw.
I totally agree with the last two commenters! And I’m in Canada and have a different Thanksgiving Day, lol! Each holiday might just be “one day”, but haven’t enough of those “one days” been marginalized? Then again, I’ve been working toward minimalism, so there’s nothing I would normally purchase that can’t wait a day. Because life is about much more than just “stuff”. Just my “two cents”!
I think the point of the post, at least to me, was that if we hold those values dear within our families, and live with an attitude of gratefulness every day – the just one day shouldn’t matter so much. We eat together – every day. We teach & model gratefulness – every day. If we’re holding out for that “one day” to be thankful, people we’ve got problems.
As far as the workers – I agree that stinks. But look at it this way – it is part of the job. My husband works for the largest public school system in our state, 144 schools. Every 6 months, he goes on call 24 hours a day/7 full days. It’s horrible. We hardly see him at all (he misses meals, church, ball games). He is absolutely exhausted when it’s over. Should he complain about this call as “unfair”? In my opinion it’s MUCH worse tan having to work Thanksgiving. But it is part of his job – one that we are beyond thankful to have (there I go again, being thankful on an ordinary day 🙂 ).
As someone who left a teaching job (which meant practically EVERY holiday off) to join the medical field that works 24/7 365 because life goes on and someone needs medical attention,, I will be shopping on Thanksgiving Day. I worked fast food and at a country club high school through college and had to work holidays because people wanted to eat out. Some years, it was easy money because the place was slow, other years were total chaos. I was glad to have a job. I have traveled on holidays and am grateful to the restaurants/gas stations that remain open too. My family will celebrate Thanksgiving and then my MIL and I will go shopping/people watching. My FIL worked at a hotel and had to work every holiday so several years, we moved the holiday meal so we could all celebrate together. My husband grew up “sheltered” away from his cousins, because Santa came several days early on the years his dad worked Christmas Eve and his parents didn’t want to spoil it. Military personnel are working too…
I respectfully disagree. Besides July 4th, Thanksgiving is the one holiday that I feel we can really be the “United” States of America. We can celebrate as a nation no matter our religious belief or political viewpoint. The consumerism has been slowly but surely creeping into Thanksgiving over the last 15 yrs. or so.
I have 5 children as well. I am thinking about the choices I make and the effect that it will have on them. How will my rush to hurry dinner and dessert to get family and friends out of the house so I can save money make my family and friends feel? Does this show my children that the almighty dollar is more important than they are? Would I want to feel hurried if I was a guest at Thanksgiving? If I give in to shopping on Thanksgiving, what will this mean in the future? Will Thanksgiving become a regular day of work for everyone again? What will these mean for Christmas? for Easter?
All excellent questions to ask and you make the right choice for your family. If you are gathered together on Thanksgiving, and it would send the message to our kids that saving money is more important, family always comes first.
LOVE this post! I agree that our country needs to practice gratitude on a more regular basis. I agree that one day doesn’t matter in the big picture. Even if all the stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day, it wouldn’t force people to be grateful, recognize the holiday, reflect on God and focus on family values. This is something families practice on their own regardless of retail stores. While shopping can distract from the specific day, it likely has little influence on the overall family values of a particular family. My family is like yours Jen. We have an early afternoon meal and plan out our evening. All the girls go together and have fun while the men are in charge of getting the littles to bed. The kids are thrilled to sleep at Grandmas and the guys are grateful to be spared the crazed experience!
Yes it totally stinks for employees who are basically forced to work. Yes, they should be grateful for a job when so many have nothing. But it’s hard to focus on gratitude at 2am when you are 8 hours into a 10 hour shift. That attitude of gratitude should pass on to shoppers. Be friendly and courteous. Thank them for giving up family time. You never know what you’ll learn. Last year my cashier at Walmart told me she was saving all her money and time to fly home for Christmas. She was grateful for the extra hours and her particular store invited employees to come in before their shift for a Thanksgiving Dinner. She said if she hadn’t been working she would have spent the day alone and homesick but instead got to have a meal with friends. So yes, it stinks but for some the day of work may be a blessing.
@Shellie, I was going to comment on the perspective of the employee but your comments pretty much did it. I was shocked to chat with an employee who said he loved the overtime and the atmosphere is fun to him. He said he would be alone and would rather work. After that conversation I stared asking some of them as I shopped. I was surprised that it didn’t bother most people I talked to.
I agree! We have a wonderful family time starting in the morning with pumpkin pie for breakfast!
We watch the parade, eat too much, watch football and talk, talk, talk!
When we are all done, we like to go to our local Walmart and walk off some of that turkey!
It has become a tradition that we all love and instead of it taking away from the day…it adds to it!
Though I agree with your basic premise, that if we live these values on a daily basis then “one” day shouldn’t matter, but I feel like you are missing the larger point. Though that may be true for your family, it’s not true for all families and Thanksgiving may be the one day when an effort is made. As a nurse, who often works on holidays, I’ve seen this play out in many families. It is also a day of national Thanksgiving and one of the few days of the year where all of us in this country are reminded to be thankful for all we have. Slowly but surely, I feel like consumerism cheapens this message until you are correct and it really is “just one day” and nothing special at all.
I do not see this issue as being about MY family. If I choose to go shopping, I can take my family with me and we can spend that time together. However, shopping on Thanksgiving is only possible because OTHERS must leave their families to provide service in the stores. These individuals generally are not offered a choice of whether or not to work. My shopping causes them to HAVE to leave their families. Therefore I will NOT shop on Thanksgiving. These others should be able to be with their families. If I go shopping, I see myself as complicit in undermining others’ family time. I do not consider myself a conservative and feel my political leanings are irrelevant in this issue. The stores are open only to make money. If opening on this holiday is not profitable, they will change and allow their employees to once again celebrate Thanksgiving with their families without having to leave to go to work. I would personally hate to have to go to work after preparing and consuming a large, traditional meal with my loved ones. All I want to do at that point is put my feet up and bask in the glow of family, football, and dessert.
I respectfully disagree. For totally different reasons than the ” family values” you cite above.
I decided several years ago that it would’ve “fun” to work retail over the holidays. I won’t share the gory details of my experience but I’d like to share and remind others the incredible sacrifices that are made for the people who work in the retail business.
These employees are NOT given a decision of if they want to work this day or not. They will lose their job if they are unable or refuse to work. Many are there many hours before you even walk in the doors to get your bargains. Most make minimum wage, are really in need of these jobs. Most managers are from other cities and areas and can not travel to see family or friends. Their Thanksgiving is alone so people can shop. The other employees miss the holiday with their family because of the time their shift begins. And then are required to work 16-18 hour shifts. I know this from experience. I realize it is the corporate giants who make the decision to open their stores the afternoon of Thanksgiving. I boycott shopping on this day because no deal ir sale is that good for the sacrifices these people are required to face. And on top it- the majority of these shoppers are rude and inconsiderate. Bawling employees out for not having enough door busters or the employee not checking them out fast enough.
Ya, sorry Jen, totally disagree.
That is a totally different perspective than the friends I know who work in retail and yes, not one I’d encourage. The main shopping I do on Thanksgiving is in support of a family owned store up in the mountains who chooses to stay open because they make in one day what they would in weeks. I love supporting them and have been buying apples there for 17 years on Thanksgiving. 🙂
@Beth lia, What about the people who do all of the behind-the-scenes jobs so that we can enjoy our family day together? Do the people at the electric company or water treatment facility, or cable company, or heck, the football players, get to take off to be with family on Thanksgiving Day?
Nope. But no one is trying to start a movement to stop watching football on Thanksgiving Day so that the players can be with their families, or only use candles and stock up on ice so that our food can stay cold in the refrigerator to allow everyone at the electric company a Thanksgiving Day with their family.
Why is it just retail that’s being targeted here?
@Beth lia, Then they need a new job! I’m pretty sure their terrible situation is not from just one day of shopping. They are probably mistreated everyday in the case of your little first hand experience.
This is a long post to write just to work out your guilt about shopping on Thanksgiving, isn’t it?
And yes, you’re missing the main point. Our society is becoming increasingly commercialized; we are increasingly treated as consumers rather than as people. Thanksgiving is just one day on which that happens, true. But it’s a big one. Your individual family traditions make Thanksgiving just another day for you? Great! Go for it. But writing a long blog post to vindicate yourself, clearly hoping for “go you!” from your readers, is foolish.
by the way, some editing, since I’ve probably made you cranky already and might as well pile on:
integral, not “intrical,” which isn’t a word.
“woven with a gift” doesn’t make much sense.
run-on sentences throughout.
No, you haven’t made me cranky. Like I said, I welcome constructive criticism and this post is meant to get people thinking. I’m not writing it out of guilt, nor expecting readers to agree. Mainly, I knew they wouldn’t. The irony is that people assume they know someone from a few paragraphs, but that’s the interesting part of social media. We shop on Thanksgiving at a family owned store who chooses to stay open on Thanksgiving because they make more in one day than they do in three weeks of working full time. We continue to support them and buy their apples and apple cider annually and so grateful to do so, so no guilt here.
Love this : “The irony is that people assume they know someone from a few paragraphs, but that’s the interesting part of social media.”
This is one of those things that really gets under my skin. You really hit the nail on the head here:)
“Could care less”…do you mean couldn’t care less?
i am a retail worker and made my peace with working holidays long ago. My family once had Thanksgiving two weeks early so that all the family be together, since we are all in either retail or the military. And not shopping won’t change corporate policy. One area I lived in, everyone did their best to not shop on Sunday’s….but even when we went a month without a customer on Sunday, we still had to be open. I will be at work on thanksgiving and Christmas Eve so that someone that forgot something can have a meaningful day with their family…you never know if I get to see mine more than they see theirs.
I think this comes down to what an ugly mess the Christmas “season” in general has become. We’ve got a media and advertising culture which whips us into a frenzy over “happy holidays” (I’ve never gotten this one. What’s wrong with wishing everyone happiness during their holiday of choice?) It’s just (I feel) a distraction to divert our attention from our willing complicity in the dismantling of everything the humble origins of Jesus should signify. I find it all very disheartening. People have always worked on Thanksgiving (farmers come to mind, among others), so I think that’s beside the point. That’s life as an adult breadwinner. To me this is more about what we have become, as consumers of (too many) goods. Thanksgiving itself as a celebration is just collateral damage. (descending from soapbox 🙂 )
For crying out loud. You have 363 other days of the year to buy stuff for people. Thanksgiving and Christmas should be left t alone. Close the stores, stuff your bird, stuff your belly, get a tryptophan buzz going on, and have a snooze as the football games and parades fill the screen. Maybe make time for your own ‘turkey bowl’ game. Stop with all the ‘buy, buy, buy’ nonsense. If you really must make a purchase it’s the 21st century … the internets beckons you.
@Jo, We used to think Sunday was a day for Christ, church, and family, no one complains about that anymore. The majority of the people complaining, DONT work on the holidays. I know a lot of people work EVERY holiday, and seldom do they complain.
My dad told me that when he was growing up nothing was open on Sunday’s except the pharmacy from 3-6pm in his town. People planned ahead, made their meals ahead of time and purchased groceries ahead of time so that the Sabbath could be observed by everyone in town. People don’t do that whatsoever anymore (unless you’re Chick-fil-a) Because of his upbringing we didn’t eat out, go shopping, go bowling, etc on Sunday’s and I still strive for that. I’m so grateful for that perspective it gave me. He always told us if people didn’t go there on Sundays the stores wouldn’t be open on Sundays (common sense) and the workers wouldn’t have to work on Sundays. Maybe it’s too much to ask that people honor the Sabbath every.single.week but could we not at least try to honor the one day that allows families to all gather once to give thanks? It’s almost impossible to get large families together any other day of the year because of work schedules, ball schedules, school schedules, and such. Everyone being “off” from their responsibilities on that day is what allows families to all get together. My husband is a firefighter and HAS to work some holidays because other peoples lives depend on him so I know first hand how hard it is to work out schedules for holidays (unlike how you described your family does it 2 days later-it’s not like that for most families). People should not miss these important holidays with their families because they need to ring up some stuff. That’s all it is…stuff…not nearly as important as relationships. I just don’t understand why people can’t do all their shopping on another day. It’s your choice but like my dad always said “if people don’t give their business-the stores won’t be open-and the workers wouldn’t have to work” I would love to see more unity on this before we become a nation who has no respect for a “day of rest” for all people. And your local family-run country store doesn’t really count in this debate. I’m sure they’re not taking advantage of their employees who feel like they don’t have a choice to work like big box businesses are. Maybe you’re not understanding how much of a problem this is in bigger cities than your mountain town. I live outside of Atlanta and trust me-it’s a big problem here.
So the people who don’t have religious beliefs should just pound sand? I feel that it is wrong that someone should dictate what I do with MY time.
No, I don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving, black Friday, etc. But I do support the people who do.
I work at a mall and we have always been closed on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas…until last year when they gave the stores the option to open at 8pm. This year they will open at 6 pm. Thankfully, I work for a wonderful restaurant who still believe our employees should be able to spend Thanksgiving day with our families. My husband and sons work weekends so we don’t have another option. This year I will be especially grateful for my job and a company that puts people before profits…of course, they’re used to doing that because for over 40 years they’ve been closed on Sundays too. It’s been “my pleasure” to share my thoughts about this special day. Come see us on Black Friday and don’t forget to Eat Mor Chickin!
I find this such an interesting topic, because it seems like such a forefront discussion lately. I worked on Thanksgiving pretty much every year in my teens and early 20’s, so this certainly doesn’t seem to be a new practice, although, I suppose having the bigger sales on Thanksgiving is. Do I wish stores were closed on Thanksgiving? I do. Do I wish they were closed on Christmas? Absolutely. To be truthful, I’d love it if they were closed on Sunday. However, just because that is how I would prefer things, I realize that a lot of others don’t believe the way I do. So, I choose not to go to stores on Sunday, or Christmas. I do however, go shopping on Thanksgiving because it IS one of our traditions and we love it.
I know life isn’t perfect, and sometimes people DO have to work on holidays or not have a job. But, should that be the case, I know I was always thankful that I had the job. Overall, I’m just thankful that we have choices–that those who prefer to celebrate Thanksgiving at home and avoid the stores can hopefully do so, just like those who love to go out and get their shop on can do so as well. 🙂 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, whenever you decide to celebrate!
I have a long standing tradition of sneaking out of the house at the crack of dawn on Black Friday to shop alone while the rest of my family sleeps. We always spend Thanksgiving in the suburbs of Philly with my inlaws and the King of Prussia Mall is one of my favorites. I typically hit just a few places and arrive home just as everyone is waking up for the day.
I can actually see the allure of shopping on Thanksgiving Day for many people who have Thanksgiving off but have to work Black Friday.
There are TONS of people who work Thanksgiving Day every year. I’ve never heard of someone boycotting the hospital because OMG those poor doctors are missing a family meal. There are some families that go out to eat for their Thanksgiving meal and no one is calling for a boycott of restaurants that are open.
In my heart, I will choose to believe that the people who are working retail on Thanksgiving were not kidnapped and forced to go to work at gun point, but rather are people who choose to show up at work at their scheduled and appointed time.
Before becoming a stay at home mom, I worked literally every holiday…and loved it. Holiday pay is such a blessing…especially when working retail jobs. This year my husband will be working 16 hours on Thanksgiving with holiday pay. What a blessing for our family.
I think it would be good to hear reasons why we should shop on Thanksgiving rather than why the arguments against it are wrong. What motivates you to head out of the house on that day? Do you make it a point to shop every day of the year? Do you want to make a cultural point? Do you love cashing in on the deals? Do you want to support the family owned business? Instead answering “why not?” answer “why?”. It would change the conversation a bit and take this post from a defensive position to an offensive one. I think it would also help clarify things. “Shopping on Thanksgiving” has come a culturally loaded term. To many many people in this country it means crazy chaos at the expense of a National Holiday and family celebrations -even the news casts it in that light -mommas fighting each other at WalMart anyone? However from reading some of your comments above it seems that the kind of shopping you engage in on this Holiday is VERY different from what people have come to know as Shopping on Thanksgiving -and what they are speaking out against. So it seems your post is a bit of a bait and switch, “It’s okay to do that, but oh, I don’t really do that… I just do this little properly motivated support the little guy shopping” Two very different things. It seems your practice is more akin to picking up one missed item at the grocer’s on Christmas morning than spending the day hitting the mall. Apples & Oranges. Which is fine, IF you make that clear in your post. I think a post saying “this is why we chose to go out and shop on Thanksgiving…” (to support a family owned store who relies on that day…) would have been much more effective than a defensive post against the haters. 🙂
Excellent point, but little did I know that this was such a hugely heated hot button when I wrote it. 😉 I definitely would have changed my approach. PEople come into comment with already strong opinions that have nothing to do with my post. My point too isn’t so much about why I shop on Thanksgiving because if I look at the reasonings of the commenters, I am not about greed or saving a buck or forcing people to work that don’t want too, but more about what are we doing the rest of the year? I don’t even think many of the commenters read my whole post.
People are SO upset about shopping on Thanksgiving, but then honestly, they are fine with spending tons the rest of the month with the same consumeristic mentality? One day out of the year makes the difference between a greedy heart and an unselfish one? Most Americans rack up huge amounts of debt throughout the year on things they don’t need, yet won’t shop on Thanksgiving? For me, it’s about the legalism and challenging people to think beyond this as a one day thing, but obviously, I didn’t do a good enough job relating that. 😉
If we take the issue across the board though, then honestly, people can’t stay in hotels when visiting family because housekeepers have to clean on a holiday and people have to check us in. Parades shouldn’t happen because they have to hire people to make them happen, gas station attendants have to be on duty and then no, I couldn’t go in on Christmas morning to grab any last minute items because it’s the exact same principle of having people work on a holiday. Where does it start and stop. Yes, it’s probably a new post to write but one I am not up for. haha
Hi, Good discussion. I see both sides. While I don’t shop on Thanksgiving NOR do I shop on Black Friday -collective gasp there- I get why in a small town you would shop on Thanksgiving to help out the local business. I get what you say about one day won’t make or break a family being thankful. We have 364 other days to help that along. Be thankful and be a family ALL YEAR LONG, not just one day.
Lol, that is a bummer… you jumped into the deep end without evening knowing it! In that case you are doing a marvelous job treading water! 😉
And I do totally agree with your responses to the haters. I just don’t think there is a good argument either way -no good reason to go out but no good reason why it’s wrong to either. Why leave all that Thanksgiving goodness to go out and shop!?! Why hate on someone who wants to go out!?! So basically I think it should be a non-issue which is apparently and decidedly NOT the case.
I’m at least glad you posted early in this month so hopefully the hub-bub can die down by the time you want to enjoy your Thanksgiving Celebrations and shopping! Just keep swimming… 🙂
I have absolutely no problem shopping on Thanksgiving Thursday.
I’d rather see people more concerned about families year round — say having stores close EVERY Sunday so families can spend regular time together, than one day out of the year. I’d even be more willing to support a boycott of stores open on Christmas day than Thanksgiving (though I will say, when I’m travelling on Christmas Day because we’ve moved our family Christmas to the day after I am VERY thankful that some stores ARE open that day)
Family and traditions are year round, not just one day dictated to us by popular opinion. And I’m okay with others disagreeing with me.
I agree with you totally. I work as a nurse in a hospital setting and we work every single holiday. We can’t be off to go have that “traditional” family dinner so what do we do? We do it the next day or whenever everyone is free. Yes the store employees may gripe and complanin about having to work but for once sit back and think of all the health care workers who get NO holidays off to be with family. People thinks oh but that is a necessity and it may very well be or it could not be depending on the situation, but that doesn’t mean healthcare workers don’t wanna be home with their families also. I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and just think that shopping will help walk off all the turkey you ate instead of that afternoon nap.
I think it’s about the attitude towards family time vs. shopping time. Which is more important to us? I won’t be shopping on Thanksgiving, but I also don’t shop on Sundays. These are supposed to be holy days (where the word holiday comes from). We as a nation have cut out the time we once had for God and our family to make room for consumerism and entertainment.
Thanksgiving I think has become a place to draw the line in this battle for family time and state, “you will not cross!” We have been losing the “war”, so it pains me to see people shrugging their shoulders at losing the next battle. That is why it is such an emotional subject. How will they be able to find time to get everyone together if they lose this day too?
I believe that Thanksgiving is a matter of the heart and we should make it a point to be equally thankful EVERY day of the year. We all need to decide as individuals and as families how we want to spend this holiday. We can’t force our own values or traditions on anyone. While I might prefer that stores were not open on Thanksgiving, they are. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to change. Maybe it would be a fun tradition to window shop, grab a few good deals and some got drinks with family members on Thanksgiving Eve. It’s all what we make it and greed is equally bad on any other day of the year. Do what works for your family and enjoy it and be thankful for it whatever IT may be
I shop with my family on Thanksgiving. The men are watching football and the woman shop. We have a great time!! I am a nurse and have worked many holidays. Thanksgiving can be any day you choose. If I worked retail I would just celebrate on another day. Our economy is doing poorly. If people are together and available to shop, stores can choose to be open. Retail workers cannot expect to set store hours and should not expect stores to be closed on holidays. Especially with Internet shopping taking a big chunk of the revenue from stores.
It seems to me that you are advocating a “backward” approach to making every day a thankful one. If we want to see thankful attitudes throughout the year, doesn’t it make sense to start with the one particular day already well established in America, and then branch out from there? How does eliminating the specialness of Thanksgiving serve to promote a year-round attitude change? The “specialness” of Thanksgiving gives us a platform from which to address the issue in broader terms, and by diminishing it we are – intentionally or not – diminishing the very notion of being thankful.
I agree with you. One day of the year does not define who we are and how we act or don’t act during the other 364 days. Gratitude is an attitude that we should reflect daily if we are truly thankful. I’ve worked in healthcare for over 20 years so I have worked many holidays and I’m pretty sure the people I took care of were grateful for it. I’m also so grateful for those working at the convenience store so I can buy gas on my way home. And for those who work in restaurants on those days so I can go out to dinner with my family rather than having to cook on that day if I want to. I will likely be doing some internet browsing that night but I’m not likely to brave the stores for any of my shopping. But I know others who have a blast going out into the madness with their families. This really is not a moral issue and certainly not a biblical one and thus not worth getting our feathers all ruffled. Don’t make “stuff” your god and remember WHO provides it all and enjoy EVERY DAY!
Thanks for keeping it real Jen!
I worked last Thanksgiving. I also had Thanksgiving with family and friends. And then :gasp: I went shopping.
Never in my life have I still been spending time with my family and friends at 10 PM at night on Thanksgiving day. Not even last year, when I worked.
Last year, on my way home from work, I stopped at Wal-Mart to pick up a tablecloth and a newspaper. Wal-Mart was already open, even though the Black Friday deals hadn’t even started. There would have been people working there, even if the sales started the next morning. The same holds true for grocery stores for… the past decade or so. The grocery stores stay open.
Working on Thanksgiving is not fun… but as someone who did work on Thanksgiving, nearly all of my coworkers that worked on Thanksgiving celebrated it in some way. Some worked late and celebrated Thanksgiving early. Some worked in the morning and celebrated it in the evening (as I did). Others celebrated it with their families the next day, or sometimes the day before.
This year, we will have Thanksgiving in a new place where the only family around will be me, dh, and the kids. We will probably have Thanksgiving at my husband’s work (although he will not be working, they’re having a Thanksgiving pot luck). Will we still be doing Thanksgiving stuff at 9 PM? I highly doubt it. Will I shop? I have no clue. I haven’t found the deals to be that great recently. I won’t really feel bad, however, if I spend a little money on Thanksgiving night, after all of our Thanksgiving festivities have been long finished anyway.
I love this! I agree with everything you shared. I had the same thoughts but was to scared to write them on facebace cause I figured people would get mad at me. Thank you for being willing to share.
I agree that “Black Thursday” shopping is not what is hurting family values in America. But, having family members that have worked in retail…it is not fun that they have to leave Thanksgiving gatherings early (or plan to be up all night) so other people can shop. There are professions where working holidays is necessary (medical professionals, police, etc.) and I am very thankful that these people sacrifice their special time with family on holidays (and celebrate another time). But I don’t feel that people in retail should need to make this sacrifice too. So, shop if you want to, just be mindful off all the employees and what they may have had to sacrifice so that you can shop.
May I just say, again this year, that when I was working retail, I desperately needed the hours. Working a Holiday meant double pay for a day. While it would have been nice to be at home with my little one, I was desperate to pay the utility bill and purchase groceries as well as save something for Christmas. There are probably some people that are in a position to be grumpy about working a holiday, but for each one of those, there are several more that are glad for the extra hours. Most of my friends that worked holidays felt the same way.
My dad was a correctional officer and had to work every year on Thanksgiving. He never even asked to have it off because he knew he would be getting double time and a half for it. It was nothing new to us, we worked around it. He would prep the night before. My mom would get everything ready and by the time he got home he would put the finishing touches and we would eat as a family and enjoy the part of the day that we had together. And we NEVER felt like we were missing out. For the life of me I can’t get why people get so worked up about retail being open when there are plenty of other places that are open and aren’t closed at all. When you take on a position, you know what you are signing up for. Either take it and own it or move on to the next. Holidays are what we make of them. Just because you can’t spend the full 24 hours with your family doesn’t mean it’s any less of a holiday. You make the best of it and enjoy what you do have.
And this article was very well said
@Carissa, agree with all of this
I think what we really need to do is just get rid of social media — then you could be having this conversation among your regular readers who may or may not agree with you, but at least have the benefit of knowing a little about you and your values. I so miss the early days of blogging! 🙂 Hang in there, Jen!
Ask Jen if she wants to “get rid of social media”and “have a conversation among her regular readers” and lose all of the income from the ads posted on her sidebar. Don’t think so. No one made any money in the”early day of blogging”. Don’t kid yourself – all bloggers want as many followers as possible so they can get as many hits as possible and make as much money from their blog as possible. And that’s fine – just don’t kid yourself that anyone’s blog is for a limited little cozy community. It’s a business.
I wasn’t going to post a comment, since I just happened upon this from facebook, but after skimming a few of these comments, I just wanted to say I love you, thank you for posting! Your argument is valid, you have really good points, and I’m so sorry for all the negativity you’ve received for sharing your own thoughts.
So….to start with I live in Maine and wed have what are called “blue laws”…stores over a certain square footage are not able to be open on Thanksgiving or Christmas. That being said I live an hour away from the NH border and could easily shop there. Initially I felt as others had that it was not right that these people have to work Thanksgiving, but sometimes to have a job and make money to provide for your family that is just what you have to do. I am a nurse, and babies and sick people do not wait for non holidays….it is just part of the job to work holidays. AND…..it is expected…no questions asked…so I guess I believe to each his own on this topic….Many times I have held Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving because of my work schedule. In the end it is not about the date on the calendar it is about family.
In my family, we don’t shop on holidays (ANY Holidays – that we celebrate religious or patriotic). I am a nurse and am often forced to work on holidays, it is a sacrifice that is necessary for the safety/care of others. But shopping is not a necessity (maybe in an emergency – for medications?). As someone that HAS to work holidays i urge you and your family to think about others on these occasions.
Its been really interesting reading what others have to say. Kudos to u Jen for expressing your views. I am not taking sides but I feel many people, on both sides of the coin, had valid points. I follow you on FB-that’s how I came over to read what the uproar was all about. Take care
Good heavens, random cranky people! Maybe you should have your pumpkin pie a few weeks early this year to get you some Happy.
This post is clearly NOT about shopping. NOT about consumerism. It’s about Traditions. Who are ANY of us to tell ANY others of us that “our traditions are better than your traditions!” (Stick your tongue out, your thumbs in your ears, and wiggle your fingers for full effect.)
What about the family who hasn’t been all together on Thanksgiving (or any holiday) for 10 years? They have ONE day together before they go their separate ways. They eat at noon. They visit, reminisce, and play games in the afternoon. They guys start a football game. The ladies wish they could browse shops and hang out like they did growing up. Oh. WAIT. They CAN, because it’s a free country and they are free to celebrate Thanksgiving however they want to!
If shopping isn’t fun for you, don’t do it. Put together a puzzle, play a card game (that’s our favorite!), take a nap, enjoy leftovers, play or watch some football (because, clearly, ALL of these activities are of higher moral value than trying on clothes and giggling at your “twinsie” outfits and taking selfies with manequins… ????)
Enjoy your Thanksgiving traditions. Be grateful for family and friends (and I do pray that everyone has SOMEONE to spend the day with). Stuff yourself with your favorite foods. Celebrate the day the way YOU do it best.
Also, thank you! cashiers, IT workers, football players and coaches, electricians, plumbers (whoops, too many people in the house!), nurses, doctors, caterers, store managers, pastors, and all the rest of you who work on Thanksgiving so that the rest of us can complain about how other people spend the day.
And my family will celebrate the way WE do it best.
well said Amy :),
@Amy, You’ve sort of missed a point yourself. It’s not about “don’t go shopping if it’s not for you” on Thanksgiving. It’s about how there are people who can’t say “I don’t want to work Thanksgiving, that’s not for me.” No one is saying that a people who like to shop on Thanksgiving are bad people with silly traditions. I say go for it, if that’s what your family likes to do. The problem here is, there are stores forcing people to work, or they will lose their jobs. I believe it’s unfair to keep a store open on Thanksgiving (and Christmas) when those are the only two days a year where employees were used to having a set day off. Now that that’s gone, there is no time for people to travel to see family, or to spend time with loved ones. Shop if you want to, but make sure you’re shopping at a place where the employees are not actually forced to be there. Such as a family owned place. Because really, even if someone at a major chain store or restaurant says they don’t mind, I promise you they are in the minority. There are managers who live hours away from their workplace (because that’s how management is treated, work where you’re needed, not where it is better on gas for you, and trust me, they don’t get paid more for that gas money) and they can’t travel after work to visit extended family.
Remember when stores used to be closed in Sundays? That was considered a day of rest, to spend with family. I wonder what the debate was like when that started shifting. How does the generation who could count on dad being home every Sunday feel now that that day of rest has been long forgotten.
I don’t know what to make of this big debate on shopping on Thanksgoving, but I do wish that the values people are trying to fight for on this one day can also fought for as dearly every day of the year.
I think the defense about the mountain store where you buy apples from, and repeat it throughout the comments is tired by now. That is a store that is obviously family owned and they choose to be opened that day. So you’ve missed the point. The major chain stores and restaurants that are open on the holidays are not permitting employees to request a day off. Your ridiculous solution of celebrating on another day is preposterous. My husband will be working Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. That’s right, not time off for that week. So we can’t make the whole extended family wait until Wednesday the week after to celebrate, can we? Think before you spout off at the mouth. Some family traditions are being broken, and tradition matters a lot to some people. My mother-in-law is heartbroken over not being able to have all her grown children and young grandchildren all together at once.
One more thing. It’s not about being grateful you have a job. Of course people are grateful for their jobs. The problem is, when someone works somewhere that was never open on a certain holiday before, and they suddenly are forced to, it is almost like being slapped in the face. There’s no time for planning around it at that point, and even if there was, there are no set days off to plan around. Instead, these people are just missing all their holidays to serve people who want to come in and buy/eat on a day that people used to spend at home before places were forced by the companies to stay open. These companies found out if was profitable during a test run, and a ton of people went for it. That’s so saddening. To know that people would really rather keep employees working 365 days a year instead of 363. So back to what I said before, if you must shop that day, don’t support the major chains that insist these people work, or get fired, choose a place where all the people working are perfectly happy about being there. If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem. And I’m seeing a lot of that here.
I have only read a few of the comments but feel compelled to say that I used to work in a Hospital and worked many Holidays including Thanksgiving. There were many people who would work and celebrate on a different day. That doesn’t make their celebrations any less “Thanksgiving” to them. I totally agree with this article that it is about traditions but I do not agree with Shopping on Thanksgiving. I don’t even agree with shopping on Sunday. I remember when stores were closed on Sundays every week and people had Sunday dinners and now people are running off to work and even sports practices. It all contributes to the instant gratification non-stop society that has been created in the last few decades. I do feel that it is hurting the average family. Do I feel that it is the only thing hurting families? No. People can choose to still make time for that once a week family dinner. People choose to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas or any other holiday but the fight about Thanksgiving is about giving up just one more day to the world and there are not many left.
As for everyone’s bad comments about Black Friday. It is what you make it to be. I shop every year. Most years it is my one stop Christmas shopping day. I do not fight with anyone. I am polite and helpful to others. Not everyone is trying to be greedy for themselves some people try to take advantage of the great sales to buy things for their family on a very tight budget and still have enough left to buy something to give to someone else in need. You choose with every day and every action what kind of a person and life you will live. Thanksgiving is no different. I personally like to be an advocate for family time and I feel by not shopping on Thanksgiving I am helping just a little but every person gets to choose that for themselves.
There may be people who don’t mind working, or those who otherwise work and celebrate another day due to many reasons like people coming into town a day later etc. However, it’s those workers who are told they must work or fear losing their jobs that makes it ridiculous. When you sign up for a job, you shouldn’t have to miss out on being with your family because you have no choice. It’s those people who suffer the most. The owners of the business aren’t asking you if you “found everything you were looking for today”. They are home with THEIR families. We should concentrated on spending more time every day with those we love, but commercialism shouldn’t trump a special day set aside. I feel the same way about “Veteran’s Day sales”. I will never have any idea what new towels have to do with a soldier’s sacrifice.
Oh, I find it so sweet that YOU don’t mind shopping on Thanksgiving. Luckily for YOU, it’s a CHOICE of what you want to do with your Thanksgiving. See, in our family of 6, our young kids don’t get to have Thanksgiving. Because of people JUST LIKE YOU. Because my husband has to work on Thanksgiving so that you can spend your money NOWWWWWWWWWW. After a 12 hour shift ON Thanksgiving, he has to go back in on Black Friday for yet another 12 hour shift. So yes, YOU are destroying OUR Thanksgiving. I’m glad you can find the good in it, though. For YOUR SAKE.
Its not only Thanksgiving that’s true but everything needs to stop somewhere and I am for
taking the day off to be with family. Hey what about Sunday’s?
What is amazing to me about the “boycotting” Thanksgiving shopping in this country, because no one should work on a holiday is this…..what about football? No one seems to have a problem with football players, their families, and the staff required to put on Thanksgiving day games, working. We also don’t seem to have a problem plopping down in front of the tv a huge part of the day to watch it on a “sacred” day. I have had jobs where I worked on Thanksgiving AND Christmas..and my family adjusted the mealtime/festivities to include me. It’s Thanksgiving….give thanks to the Lord that you have a job, a warm home, family, and food. Personally, I am sick of hearing about it all. And the next time everyone throws down the “boycott gauntlet”….why don’t you start by refusing to watch football on Thanksgiving? Talk about something driven by money! Doubt that would ever happen.
Finally a post that I can relate to! Thank you! My husband is an officer and for the past 11 years hasn’t had a holiday off. Our holidays are either a few days before or after but that’s ok! Thanksgiving for us will be the 22nd when our family can all gather, my husband will be home and we can enjoy each other’s company. I’ve always shown my kids the true meaning of a holiday is family! Don’t get me wrong, we will probably have a small turkey breast with 2 or 3 sides on Thanksgiving because hey, we have to watch the Macy’s parade while the house fills with aroma of good food but that would’ve never been “my thanksgiving” if I couldn’t spend it with the people I love. On the 2nd note, my husband and I live a debt free life but like many, still like the nice things in life. We have a budget every Christmas and know the amount we are willing to spend on each person so if I can get my kids the toy or electronic that is on their list at an awesome price, then I’m going to be there! Now for those who start preaching about materialism…relax!!!! It’s Christmas and I want to see the smiles on my kids faces when they open the gift they wanted. Just because people shop on Black Thursday doesn’t make them greedy. I think it just makes me a smart shopper while still showing my kids a different tradition and not to allow One day to define your family. Family is the holiday, not the other way around
OK, you might be fine with shopping on Thanksgiving, but what about the people who have to work to wait on you? They might really want to be with their families. You are being VERY VERY VERY selfish. You obviously have a large “me” problem, in that you only think about yourself. I feel very sorry for you.
I think most people just want to argue about something. I will be shopping on thanksgiving. I am a stay at home mom. My husband works hard for the money we need to eat and pay bills. So if going shopping on thanksgiving and black Friday means I can buy new clothes and christmas gifts for my family for a fraction of the price you bet your butt I will be there. Another thing about everyone throwing a fit about people being forced to work on a holiday. I can guarantee there are people a lot worse off and would love to have that be the only thing they have to complain about.
Wow. So many people are passionate about this topic!
Thanks, Jen, for sharing your life with us! I love the way you give us a glimpse of the beauty AND the bedlam. I’m so sorry there are some very rude and a few downright hateful comments here. I guess some people can’t help themselves.
To the point that some people are FORCED to work on Thanksgiving when they don’t want to, I would like to respectfully point out that there are lots of jobs that do not require working on holidays. Any job in the arena of public schools comes to mind. Don’t have a college education? No problem! Try cafeteria server, janitor, or attendance clerk.
I simply don’t believe anyone is truly FORCED to work (with the exception of sex slave, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.) There are many and varied job options out there. Maybe they aren’t ideal in every way, but they pay the bills. Lots of us pay the bills with less than ideal jobs.
I work at Macy’s part time because without it my family would not eat. We are not given a choice. We work on Thanksgiving or we are fired. Our store opens at 6pm, my required 10.5 hour shift starts at 5pm and goes until 3:30am. For me to be able to physically do this, I will have to sleep through the cooking of the meal, and will miss the actual meal is it gets served at—wait for it—6pm.
I’m happy for you that you are able to put family first in all things. This is the last holiday I will get to spend with my young nephews. They already live a 12 hour drive away, and are moving even further. There is no money for plane tickets for that family of four and with my two jobs and my husband’s two jobs we cannot travel during the holiday season. So yay you for having family close enough to see and cherish often. Please recognize that we are not all so lucky.
Thank you for sharing this. I work in retail. I’d rather work thanksgiving and be off on Sundays to worship. All in all, I’m thankful for my job and the consumers who buy. They keep us in business!
Everyone seems to be focusing on retail. If you feel so strongly about letting people have their holiday then you must not go to the grocery store, no movies or out to eat. In addition, TURN OFF YOUR TV. What do you think all those professional athletes, concession stand people, ticket takers, cab and bus drivers would rather be doing? Its all or nothing folks.
Im going to get stuff thrown at me here as well, but I refuse to boycott shopping that day. For most of my adult life, getting together for “holidays with family” was the most stressful part of the year. Now that I am grown with my own family, we see it as just another day on the calendar. Any day of the year we can put a turkey in the oven and call it a feast. It doesn’t take the 4th thursday of November before we get together and celebrate our family and remember how thankful we are.
For those that are alone on the holidays, working might be the ONLY thing saving them from holiday depression. Sure, many of you invite others into your homes, but I was never one of them. Neither was my brother who was in the service, alone during those times, unable to get closer to family.
Please remember that there are many who are just thankful to be having a job at all, and that one day of the year does not make or break traditions. If that is the case, then our traditions were shallow to begin with.
Stepping off the box now…and ducking.
I think that the people that want to judge others and make it sound like people who go to any stores on Thanksgiving are “ruining our country and the family values” need to remember that there are A LOT of people that have to work in Thanksgiving that are not emergency personell or physical retail store workers. How about the people who run the TV and radio stations, the people who are keeping the airport running and all other forms of public transportation, the restaurant workers, etc. If all those people decided that they will not work, a lot of people’s family traditions wouldn’t happen either. Do your families watch Thanksgiving day parades, or the football games, or order stuff online or want to eat at a restaurant or get gas while traveling to spend time with family for the holiday? None of those jobs are using emergency workers.
So if you choose to not shop at a store of leave your house for the day, great. As that is your choice and no one is going to judge you. If you have morals & values then you shouldn’t be judging others for their choices either.
Okay let me put this as a retailers perspective. I know at the store I work at we don’t care if we work it or not. I work at walmart, I love getting that extra day’s wage, I love the fact that its not that hard compared to my every day tasks and I love the fact that I can spend time with my family and do my job. I work overnight and I have been there for 7 years and I have two kids. So excuse me if I am not one of the ones who don’t care if I work it or not. Although I have every year I have worked there and it has not bothered me one bit. people want to boycott and do that. Ultimately if you boycott sales plummit MY CHILDREN go hungry, they go with out clothes they need or without their mother because i would have to take up a second or third job. I rely on those sales for my bonuses, for my bills for food. I am the only income and I am happy that I have a job to support my family. So you want to think about us? Think about this. that day I work I get extra money, that goes towards keeping a roof over two adorable babies heads and keeps food in their tummy. Think about the fact that you are helping me save for retirement so I can have something later, think about the fact that you are supporting a family without doing so through welfare. Think that you are keeping THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN THEIR JOBS. If they closed for thanksgiving I would lose that extra money and it would be a regular paycheck, I would have time cut most likely to make up for sales, so yes..okay now I can spend lots of time with my kids in that shelter I have to go to because I can’t pay rent. I rather you spend and I can pay my bills than “take up for me” so that YOU FEEL BETTER.
@lulu, Well Said!
I have always avoided shopping the day of the holiday and after the holiday as well. It doesn’t have any appeal to me. I have never understood the desire to shop and wait in lines outside and inside with all those people. I’ve read articles that have stated that you can end up with similar deals at other times during the season. I usually can do all of my shopping in one day, so I don’t always look for sales, but if it is on sale I do buy it on sale. I do go to the other end of the scale in that I would rather pay full price than shop on those days even if it means less stuff. It almost seems freeing not to have to shop on those days. I can just play around with family and friends instead or relax and have some peace and quiet. I should mention our extended family stuff doesn’t end after the first day of the holiday, it continues throughout the weekend usually. I find it interesting that everyone has a different take on it.
Let’s not forget to mention those families who RELY on WORKING on Thanksgiving. The typical jobs that are open on Thanksgiving are minimum wage jobs. Minimum wage jobs don’t offer paid holiday leave. If you want paid on a holiday, you have to WORK that holiday. If you work that holiday, you get holiday pay – anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 times more than your usual pay rate. Minimum wage families NEED as much work as they can find. They don’t work, they don’t get paid. $50 or more will be missing from their paycheck because they didn’t work this day. For a minimum wage family, that $50 is a HUGE deal to the support of their family. Two weeks worth of fuel to get to and from work. $50 to get them from the end of their financial month to the end of the ACTUAL month. Medications Mom needs for her high blood pressure, or that Dad needs for his diabetes. It’s not just about *you* and *your* family values. It is about the survival of someone else’s family, too. It shouldn’t be mandatory for them to work that day, it should be voluntary, but to demand all these businesses not be open that day so the employees can be with their families is demanding they be short on their paycheck. We find ways to be with our families on other days, it doesn’t HAVE TO BE Thanksgiving.
I’m one of those wives and mothers who sits home alone with just my son because my husband is at work. I instill values in my family and child every single day of the year, but just this one day (or Easter or Christmas, neither of which he is home either) I would love to enjoy it with the one most important part of our family. Yet because people choose to shop, the stores stay open, therefore the employees must work. Yes, he has a choice, work or not. Not gets him fired! If you were in my shoes every single year you would understand why it is so important to have just one day together.
PS, no he does not receive more pay. He is not rewarded well for it. My mother and father are both dead, as is his mother and his father is 85 and cannot travel. Obviously, we can’t go to him 12 hours away! Wouldn’t it be great to have that one day! Just one day!!
I agree with you 100%. I also want to say that while I feel for people who have to work on Thanksgiving, they don’t work on Christmas. They don’t work every single solid holiday. How many people complain about people shopping on Thanksgiving when they are on their way to the movie theater after the big dinner?
I worked for a movie theater chain for over 10 years. And I worked every.single.solid.holiday each of those years. Holidays are typically the busiest days of the year at theaters and it has been that way for decades. In the large mega plex movie houses, you also typically have well over 100 employees. Each of them MUST work on EVERY holiday. When I hired staff as a manager, if a person could not agree to work each holiday, they simply were not hired. If they called out for anything that was not an absolute emergency, they were no longer employees.
It is possible to enjoy a holiday and also work a portion of that day. It is possible to work a holiday and still spend time with your family. It is possible to work a holiday and still be thankful.
Obviously this person has never HAD to work on TGD! I don’t think they should be open all day. Open up later in the day after families have had the chance to be together and are now sick of each other and need to get out. Such as 6PM time.
Do split shifts. Offer morning times and then afternoon times so that families can coordinate time together. Ask for those who WANT to work first and fill those spots in. When I was younger it was just me and my mom. I offered to work so that those with family could be with their family. Still there were some who didn’t get time off but had to work a full eight hours and they had family that came in from out of town. You can’t request off if you haven’t worked there long. It’s BS…Close. Family matters. Not sales.
As one who worked retail (wal~mart) to put myself through college. I had to work thanksgiving and couldn’t travel home to see my family.. I spent thanksgiving alone. I lived a three hour drive from home (6 hours round trip). Without the whole day off there was no option to see my family. And good luck getting black friday off… we would work a 12- 16 hour shift that day. You were happy the law said they had to give you a lunch break and that normally wasn’t on time.
They’re not saying you shopping has an effect on your family. But there are people who work there who may not get to go see their family at the holiday, when that might be the only time they have to go visit family.
If you shop, they must have employees there. If the employees are there they’re not with their families.
If you value traditional family values, do you think beyond your own family?
Call it what you want. But all boils down to marketing. If there is no market for a product, it doesn’t happen. And I also know personally about being minimum wage & trying to pay my bills. At 1 time, I carried two 40 hour a week jobs. When people hire in, part of the paperwork they signed is about company policy and agreeing to abide by it. People are not stupid. A company I used to work for required “all hands on deck” for Thanksgiving, Easter, & Mother’s Day. To not be there was an automatic termination if you could not provide a verifiable reason for not showing up. This was company policy. Last, but not least, it’s 1 thing to use a calendar to plan family events. Its a different ballgame when a calendar dictates what you do & when to do it. Nissan 14th is the only day of the year that I keep & do not compromise on.
Heres a good one don’t write a blog post about something that is nobodies business! I’ll shop where & when I like. It was what I was blessed with thanks to God, the constitution & all the military members (their families included) who fight to preserve that. Don’t Jutisfy something that is your choice and right.
As one who has both worked and not worked this Holiday, I completely agree with you.
Well said, thank you.
I am one of THOSE emergency service workers who has to work most holidays. I am also the mother of 4 wonderful, and very understanding, children. We have celebrated Thanksgiving on many different days that were not the last Thursday in November. The weekend before. The weekend after. Even as early as the first week in November because I knew I would not have enough days off in a row to do the dinner properly. To us, it is simply a larger dinner than normal, because we give thanks every day. Each night at the super table, a child gives thanks and of course my 5 year old girl has to add “and thank you for letting us have bikes” to the end every time because it has only been recently that I have been able to afford bicycles for my Littles.
We have also celebrated Christmas on random days. We have left the decorations up until February a couple of times because I simply did not have the money to buy anything for them in December. So when the refund check comes in, I would get them several presents, wrap them and put them under the tree and we would decide what day was going to be Christmas for that year. Christmas is whatever day you make it. Thanksgiving is whatever day you make it. So is Halloween, valentine’s day, easter, etc. Although it might be hard to change July 4th unless you call it by its proper name of Independence Day. Then it can be whatever day you make it as well. Being a 911 dispatcher is hard on the soul, so we celebrate the holidays whenever and however we can. If not, we would never be able to celebrate them at all.
As far as the shopping goes, can’t we all just get along? I am so tired of taking 911 calls of children being trampled and people punching and kicking each other. So, I say, act as adults should and don’t trample each other, neither physically or mentally. It is exhausting to say the last.
@Amanda, Oh yeah, one more thing. If I don’t work on my scheduled days, whether they be holidays or not, I lose my job. I lose my house. I end up with nothing for my children to eat. That being said, I am thoroughly grateful to have fallen into such a wonderful career. I never complain about working those holidays. It is a wonderful thing that I work on the holidays, because it means that I am able to help people in need. The grandmother who feel in the bathroom. The uncle suffering from anaphylactic shock. The uncle who tripped on the carpet when he jumped off the couch at the lady touchdown. The child being beaten by his drunken mother. The child whose grandfather and sole guardian has had a heart attack. Those babies break my heart.
You know what? I think that at this point I must retract my statement about not trampling each other. As long as no children are hurt, please continue as you were. It gives me job security. *shaking my head*
Wow…I didn’t take the time to read ALL the comments, but I did want to chime in here. Jen was my “table leader” in MOPS many years ago. Although we have not kept in touch, I can tell you, that her motivation to shop on Thanksgiving is not coming from a place of “a love of stuff”, saving a few dollars and most definitely not from a lack of concern for others.
I realize that Thanksgiving Day is the “National Holiday” but as an Army “brat” there were many years that our family was not together and it was celebrated on a different day. There are many employees that are willing to work. I volunteered to work Thanksgiving many years ago, because my family was close and I could still make it for dinner. My real concern is for the employees that are not given a choice. Many took their job before the “opening on Thanksgiving” came about – and are now stuck with it. The ones that accept these jobs now, know going in that that is a requirement.
Also, my BIL is a firefighter and there have been times his pager goes off and he’s gone – that very minute. I’m forever thankful and appreciative for our emergency workers, military and others, like utility workers on “stand by”. Their sacrifice and that of their family is often overlooked.
I sit the fence on this one. I am for both sides. I used to not want to shop on Thanksgiving until one year when I had to work on black Friday. I was happy to hit some deals on Thanksgiving. Black Friday shopping has been a fun thing for our family. All the ladies looking at the ads and planning our day. We look forward to it even if we dont buy anything. Also a few years ago when they first started to stay open on Thanksgiving, one family member had to work but didn’t mind as he got Holiday pay. Yes, Thanksgiving needs to be celebrated everyday not just one day in November. Also, with living on a limited income and a strict budget, sometimes you need to take advantage of those rock bottom prices when you can get them. We still celebrate as a family with a big meal and naps and playing games, and even getting out to serve in the community. It just means shopping starts earlier and just maybe home earlier and able to get some sleep before having to get up with the kids in the morning.
It’s interesting that you mentioned the option of simply celebrating two days later on Saturday. Most retail workers have to work on weekends, especially during the holiday season. That might be a viable option for someone working as a nurse or police officer on Thanksgiving because they will likely have at least Friday, Saturday, or Sunday off. To think that most retail workers will be granted one of their days off during one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year is naive.
I work in the medical field. I have worked holidays in a hospital. I have also worked retail, before my medical career. Yes, in signing up for the career I have I am voluntarily working on holidays, I know that. The difference that I see is these two things- In the hospital, I get to see patients on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and make their day brighter and happier. I get to hold a parents’ hand in the emergency room while tears stream down their face, all the while praying today isn’t the day their child with cancer dies. I have the extraordinary privilege of bringing comfort to someone who has no choice but to be where they are. Totally different from retail, where in some cases, the reason why paramedics and police officers and medical staff are needed is because some idiot didn’t want someone else to get the last TV on sale and completely loses it and beats the crap out of someone. This happens every year, and to ignore that and say well, not my problem, the people need overtime pay is a contributing factor to this mentality.
@Jo, I remember when people said the same thing about keeping Sunday for Christ, church and family, no one complains about that anymore. I know a lot of people who work on every holiday, they arent complaining because they need the money. Its funny, the people who dont have to work are the ones complaining.
I disagree with stores being open on Thanksgiving for one simple reason – it’s not about “only” having traditions on holidays, but some people do not have the option of being with their loved ones other times. I so sadly remember the years I was in college and could NOT go home to see my family at the time they were off of work, because it was several hours away, and I would lose the job I needed to go to college if I tried to take off. Now, you have many parents working shift work. Stores are open on Sundays. We all need a break that we can take while parents are off of work, kids are out of school, and we aren’t forced to make the guilt producing decision of working and disappointing our families and selves, or taking off and jeopardizing our job
I’m with you having worked countless Thanksgivings, Christmas, Easter, Birthday of all my family members oh heck most any kind of holiday. My family celebrate each holiday when we can, we have had Christmas in July. Matter of fact my oldest son and our daughter in law have yet to celebrate Christmas 2013, we haven’t lost a minute of sleep over it. Now back to all those days I was forced to work, what if I would of put my family first and just called off? I’m not sure who would of been caring for your parents, aunts and uncles. I worked in a nursing home and let me say as Y’all get up in arms about shopping killing family values. Please let me know where your butts where??? Because they sure weren’t at the nursing home sharing dinner with them. Perhaps an adult diaper interfere with your family tradition and values. Did these people leave you on the porch during your diaper phase, or perhaps pureed food is unappealing to you were you not feed at the dinner table when you ate baby food. I know you say to yourself they don’t know what day it is or always know me, it’s such a long drive. Please by all means keep your family values and traditions and don’t shop. Get off your high horse and go to a nursing home and visit your family members and if you don’t have any family members there, go visit those who have no family members to visit them. That’s a great family tradition remember mother’s and father’s up in arms about shopping, one day you might find yourself in the nursing home and those of usforced to work on our families holidays, are taking care of yours. I also worked in retail management funny I have had those ladies laughing in line sometimes generation of ladies, I believe that would constitute a family tradition. I’m retired and I find myself in line at 2 am not just with my son and his wife but with my husband and her family members it’s becoming our big family tradition.
Just a note to say that I understand what you were trying to convey with your shopping on Thanksgiving post and can completely agree with you. I can’t imagine how anyone who has family out-of-town would argue that the issue isn’t specifically that Thursday.
Furthermore, I agree 100% that the issue with eroding family values isn’t just one day, but an overall issue that should be handled on a daily basis.
That being said, I like my Thursdays at home. I like the idea that everyone can have off, and I miss that it was common knowledge that everything was closed on Thanksgiving. But, I do have a few comments to add, and hopefully this could help you feel a bit better after some of your attacks.
1. It is the retailer that is opening the store, not the public. Yes, ‘if you build it, they will come,’ is a common saying for a reason. And frankly, though Black Thursday/Friday scares me to death (I hate seeing how rude and outright mean people can get), I know so many families who use it to bond. The men watch football and fall asleep and the ladies get together over the circulars to plan out their shopping trips, get ready and head out. While this has been moved up, it’s still a ‘family tradition,’ even if based on consumerism.
2. This does create a disadvantage to many low-income, minority employees who either feel like, or know, that they have no choice in the matter. And for that, I think the shame belongs with the company, not the consumer. No one would shop on those days if family values were a top priority, because those running the retail chain would not allow it. For example, Chick-Fil-A still has an amazing business by sticking to its policies.
3. Speaking of Chick-Fil-A, if someone really wants to discuss eroding family values for the sake of consumerism, then discuss shopping on Saturdays or Sundays (the sabbath for two of the three top global religions).
4. I agree 100% that while there is a disadvantage to certain socioeconomic groups in this country, there are some individuals that would rather take the time away from one holiday to allow them to celebrate another, or obtain the means to feed their family anything, much less a full “commercial” turkey dinner. That decision lies with the individual. Additionally, having Black Thursday/Friday sales actually allows those same disadvantaged families access to affordable gifts on a very tight budget – even if we are not materialistic people, when you are struggling, there is something to be said when you give someone a gift that blows them away. If someone wants to talk about disadvantaged socioeconomic groups, I will be more than willing to share a fair amount of information on access and how that is the biggest issue right now for low-income, minority populations.
5. The fact that gratitude is celebrated one day a year, and oh, by the way, it’s celebrated by preparing a feast that will feed you for a week even though you’ll throw it out after 3 days (gross generalization), is not consumerism at all . . .
I have been in retail for almost 14 years now. I celebrate with my family every Thanksgiving, cooking our meal, playing games, enjoying time talking and giving thanks in a special way, that changes each year . . . and I work every Thanksgiving . . . and to show me their appreciation for my dedicated service, the company I work for, feeds me at work, a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner, my second of the day, gives me double my pay, and an added bonus of a cupon for 25% off of an entire shopping trip, for a time when I want, no limit. It is an exhausting day, filled with fun, family, and work, and people of all kinds, and my family shows their gratitude to me by giving me hugs and kisses, and a quiet couple of days afterward so I can recharge. Our gift giving is spread out through out the year, and we tend to make gifts for each other, leave little notes in surprising places, and tell each other that we love one another every day. None of us is guaranteed another day in this world, so making the most of each day as it comes, is what life is all about. I normally wouldn’t share something so personal, but I wanted to share the voice of someone who works for “a big box store”. I wish you Peace. 🙂
Thank you so much for this article!! My family does the traditional Thanksgiving day celebrations, but my mom, sisters, and I also go shopping late Thursday evening into early Fruday morning. For us, it’s fun girl time, and if we plan ahead, we an get some early Christmas present shopping done. 🙂 However, some people tend to freak out when shopping on Thanksgiving is brought up, and although I completely respect their opinions, I also love this article because it states my and my family’s reasons for going out that day. I sometimes wonder if people are truly upset about the “materialism in America” and other such excuses (and I am not saying their arguments are invalid…America is struggling in many areas, but as you’ve mentioned, the solution is not a one-day-a-year solution) or if they’re just upset because “we ain’t never done it thataway before!” If you know what I mean…thanks again!! 🙂
Such an interesting discussion with varying points of view. I do not shop on Thanksgiving Day, but I don’t judge anyone who chooses to do so. From the posts I’ve read, most of the commenters here must be blessed to have families where everyone gets along and the love flows–I am fortunate in that regard myself. On the other hand, many people are not so fortunate. Perhaps they are from dysfunctional families or their families live far away. Maybe most of the family has passed away, or they are single or divorced and are so lonely during the holidays. Maybe the kids have all grown and are spending Thanksgiving with the in-laws so they can spend Christmas Eve with Mom and Dad. Maybe some people would love to go out shopping–or just window shopping–in the afternoon on Thanksgiving just to find a little relief from the loneliness and find someone to talk to or see a smile or little child. Commercialism is prevalent in our society, it’s true. But people have many other needs and issues that have nothing to do with retail. Maybe what would be the most pleasing to God is to give everyone a little grace and compassion. We don’t all do things the same way, and we don’t have to. God will still love us whether we have shopped on Thanksgiving, or whether we wait till the week before Christmas, or don’t shop at all! 🙂
@Robin, Robin said it perfectly 🙂
Very well written and stated. I’m not surprised by the backlash, though, because our current society isn’t able to keep their attention on an article comprised of more than a few sentences with an eye catching photo to fully represent those few sentences should they prefer “picture reading” ;).
This current backlash is also an example of how society has changed in that, in the old days, when people joined together with differing opinions it was referred to as “Interesting conversation”. Nowadays, however, it is commonly known as ““How dare you disagree with me because I am unable to function as long as there exists any opinion in this world different from my own.” You and I have discussed this ;).
You, my dear, honest, forthright friend who cherishes your family and lives according to God’s will rather than the will du jour of the world, represent what is right and good in this crazy upside down world of ours.
I found this really interesting, thanks for sharing.
One thing that I have to say to those of you who are attacking people over shopping on Thanksgiving (and I have been battling with not wanting to shop on a traditional day vs being really poor and hoping to be able to get my kids a little extra stuff this year with the good deals, including clothes)…
if you travel to see family on Thanksgiving and need gas, how are you any different?
If you choose to eat out that day instead of in? How is it any different?
If you watch your cable or dish, well someone is working that job too, on a holiday!
Not trying to be mean! But I’m trying to say ***before we attack someone else, let’s remember we are not perfect*** and *** aren’t the holidays about things like peace, love, and understanding as well as thankfulness?***
Maybe you being out in the world on Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You can spread love on a holiday just as well as any other day.
I think someone pointed out that stores were closed on Sundays back in our grandparents’ time. But back then, not many women worked full-time outside of the home. So women did their shopping on weekdays. Plus, children weren’t overscheduled with activities and sports on the weekends back in the day. Nowadays, many people, including working mothers, work 40+ hours a week outside the home. If stores weren’t open on Sundays, when would busy families get all their errands done? And, no Saturdays are not always an option because of sports and other activities. But in some parts of the country some stores still do not open on Sundays until 11 am, noon or 1 p.m. to allow time for church-going. They are known as blue laws.
I have mixed feelings about stores being open on Thanksgiving. I don’t shop then because I hate crowds and we are too busy with extended family on that day. But, honestly the lines are becoming blurred now about when Black Friday actually is as more and more retailers start Black Friday sales way before the day after Thanksgiving now.
People have been complaining about the commercialism of the holidays since the 1950s-1960s. Hello? Anyone remember a Charlie Brown’s Christmas circa 1965? The message was loud and clear in that classic that Christmas was becoming over commercialized and becoming secular even back then.
Although I understand the author’s point of being grateful and showing gratitude and kindness every day of the year, I don’t see how that justifies retail stores to be open on Thanksgiving and the need for Americans to shop on Thanksgiving. Why not start with Thanksgiving? Show gratitude by giving retail workers the day off – and not force them to work at unreasonable hours at minimum wage (not all retail workers receive holiday pay).
Last year I celebrated Christmas with my family the first weekend in December. One year we celebrated Thanksgiving on a Sunday (both my sisters had to work Thanksgiving). We just did our Thanksgiving the sunday before again (I live out of state and my sister was here visiting). My Mom worked many Black Fridays growing up, and my Dad was a career military man. Gone a lot. When my Mom worked retail, you couldn’t ask for time off during the holidays, nor during back to school. That’s just how it was. But when school got out, or after back to school, she could take a few weeks off for us to go see our Grandmother. My whole point is, the calendar doesn’t dictate to my family when when spend time together. We gather when we can, love, laugh and enjoy what we have. People are getting too caught up in Thanksgiving and what it should mean to us as a nation. Yet we are a nation of individual families that don’t all do things according to what someone else thinks we should do. So stay home. I might be shopping, or wine tasting or snow shoeing in the mountains. I don’t know yet what we will be doing, but I won’t feel guilty doing any of it.
I came across this article as I’m doing research on the topic of retail and the businesses that elect to be open on Thanksgiving. I have found some startling statistics.
Black Friday sales were down 12.0 percent ($10.2 billion) in 2015 from the previous year according to RetailNext, a firm that tracks retail shopper traffic. The firm is also predicting that the two of the 10 busiest shopping days for 2016 will be Friday, December 23 and Saturday, December 17. Black Friday is third and Thanksgiving doesn’t even make the list.
Why are Black Friday sales down? Because in past years, those retailers were open on Thanksgiving as well. Now in 2016, many retailers have made the decision not to open on Thanksgiving. Though many of those stores cite that they will be closed so that “employees and customers can enjoy Thanksgiving with their friends and families,” in reality, being open on that day has hurt Black Friday sales.
As a growing trend, it appears that more retailers will be closed on Thanksgiving in 2017.
Now on the my comments on this post.
Growing up, Thanksgiving was a very special day at our house and it has been — and always will be — my favorite holiday, but I didn’t realize that until I was 23 years old. It was 1992 and that year I had graduated college in June and moved to Chicago in September. While I was drinking it up with friends Wednesday night until the wee hours of the morning on Thursday, I ended up alone on Thanksgiving because I had to work on Friday at Marshall Field’s. After finally finding something open for dinner, I strolled over to Michigan Ave. From there it was pure magic. The Magnificent Mile was all lit up with Christmas lights as cars slowly drove up and down the street. That’s been a tradition for decades.
A few years later when I was married and had children, I always made Thanksgiving a priority celebrating it on the fourth Thursday in November like everyone else. And even though there has been several Thanksgivings where I had to work until 3pm, I came home to a house full of family and friends were I traded my suit jacket for apron and got to work in the kitchen after mixing up a cocktail.
The major difference, though, was that I was paid much better and had better perks than those working in retail. Some of those stuck working on Thanksgiving barely make minimum wage.
While I know this is a woman-centric blog, as a man in my late 40’s, I realize shopping is like a sport for most women. Luckily, that’s not true for my wife. We spend the entire four-day weekend together, usually leaving town for a few days to get away. Plus, those Black Friday deals are usually too good to be true.