The Grinch that Stole Thanksgiving
Christmas Carole 2010

    Over the years many critics of American society have stated how materialistic we, as a nation have become.  My wife and I have sang along with Shania Twain’s song “Ka-Ching” as we drive to one of the many malls.  I have had to move stuff off our couch so I could sit and watch “Hoarders” on TV.

    When Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621 or first officially celebrated as a government holiday in 1789, Americans had less material possessions and services.  In those times and for may years later anyone who over did it had to go to an outhouse, there was no running water or public sewer.  In most cities the moon was the only streetlight and the closest thing to a mall was a general store about the size of an average house of today.   

    The day after Thanksgiving, which has become known as Black Friday, has been traditionally the day when the Christmas Buying Season started. Over the years Black Friday started earlier and earlier, stores started opening in the cold dark morning hours with shoppers already lined up.  This year The Grinch stole many peoples’ turkeys as many stores were open for Pre-Black Friday sales.

    Descendants of Ebineezer Scrooge sent descendants of Bob Cratchet to work for yet another day in the quest for the dollar.  I do not think that adding one more day to the Christmas Buying Season is going to get America to actually spend that much more because most of us have to live by budgets.  To many of these people who had to work, Thanksgiving was the last day of rest before the insanity of the Christmas Buying Season started. 

    Our shopping malls become fuller on Sundays as our houses of worship become emptier.  In some cities, churches are knocked down only to be replaced by office and retail complexes; where a community got together, now there are only things to be bought.  At the many houses of worship, people were taught The Golden Rule and the virtues of charity while today people at the malls are programmed to put themselves first.

    This year on my way to the mall I will pass many foreclosed homes and two burnt out houses on my street.  Two of the families will celebrate Christmas together in a new place and many of their gifts may be items to replace items that we take for granted, items that sit in a dumpster in front of what used to be their home.  One other family lost something irreplaceable, one of their own.

    When buying a gift this year, carefully think of the recipient’s situation. Many people who are still working may not have gotten an annual raise, so next year may be just a bit tighter. Practical gifts may be less fun to give, but much more appreciated by their receivers.  Instead of getting a bunch of small gifts, get together with people and pool resources as to buy something nicer.  Also consider the cost of ownership of certain items.  A good example of such is a printer - instead of buying a cheap one, get together with a few others and buy a better model which may be more expensive for those who purchased it, but more affordable to it’s recipient

    Also don’t be afraid to make something.   A few years ago my wife and I bought her mother and father a digital picture frame.  We spent may nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas scanning old family photos.  My father-in-law spent about an hour watching it display pictures of his children, siblings and parents. The next day he went on to join his parents and a few of his siblings.

    Thanksgiving is also the time of many class reunions. Take the time to revive old friendships and make new ones. 

    As many of us return to work and school this week and bring leftover turkey sandwiches with us, I wish that every bite brings back a happy memory of the holiday.  I also hope that more thought than money goes into each Christmas gift this year and that we, as a people can come together and help each other face the challenges that lay ahead.