Thanksgiving "thanks": Do you really, really mean it?

Thanksgiving "thanks": Do you really, really mean it?

Thanksgiving. A day when people gather with family and friends to just as the picture says, give thanks for the things that they already have. I love Thanksgiving. I love the aura of it, the warmth of family; the gratitude in just being able to sit together with people I love and care about. To share a wonderful meal in a home that I am proud and so grateful to have. But it also signals a day in which the world awaits the next day. The day when just as it says here, "people trample others for sales".

I was raised in a home where our holidays were always celebrated for the meaning and tradition of them. Not for how many gifts we were going to receive; but to give thanks for our lives, our freedom, each other. Yes, I'll admit when we were little kids we were lucky to get our Hanukah presents and toys but no, there weren't always eight nights of crazy gift giving. And my parents weren't out trampling people over to buy them. They worked very hard to provide a roof over our head and teach us to appreciate what we did have.

Now we have the dreaded Black Friday and the insanity which is the Christmas shopping season. Thursday night millions of lights will flicker all over the world. This is almost like the gun at the beginning of a race. On go the lights, off to the stores we go. At least it used to be Friday morning before you could shop. Yet, each year since my own children were small, I have seen the opening times of stores get earlier and earlier. Last year the ultimate in ridiculous as stores were opening at midnight.

Yet, that apparently wasn't enough. Now we are seeing stores open at 8pm on Thanksgiving night. Some stores are even open Thanksgiving Day. It won't be long before stores will be open on every single holiday, including Christmas. People will have to leave the comfort of their homes and families to go to work right after dinner. Filled with l'tryptophan and maybe some alcohol? Or, can't those people that have to go to work even enjoy those little luxuries of the holiday?

I did a door buster once many years ago because I had the insane idea it would be fun. My sister and I went to get game boys for our kids. At 6AM they were already out of them.We have not done a door buster since. It's all about the over indulgence of our generation. Give, give, give. Take, take, take. How many people have spent thousands of dollars only to watch their children be more excited to tear open a gift than to actually see what's inside? And then when they're finished ask "is that it?"

Oh and the expectations of gifts! How many times have you been disappointed that it wasn't what you really wanted? That it wasn't as romantic ladies, or guys it wasn't exactly the brand of sporting equipment you would have bought for yourself? Or for your kids it wasn't the same toy their friend has. Or the right cell phone. That maybe it's an off brand clothing item that just isn't cool enough to wear. And on and on.

When did the meaning of this season turn into "what's in it for me??" Why can't we enjoy a wonderful meal on Thursday and spend Friday being grateful for the great day we just had? Why is it that enough is never enough?

Society has conditioned us to behave that way, that's why. We rush to Wal Mart or Target at insane hours to trample each other for a TV or the latest toy that our child is demanding. Within a couple weeks, that toy is laying on a floor somewhere, never to be played with again.

So, why don't we try to make holidays more special? On Friday morning maybe rethink your strategy. Do you really want to spend forever looking for a parking spot? Waiting in long lines to pay for something that is just that" a "thing?" Wouldn't it be nice to sleep in? Spend some quality time with your children? Spend time with your family that may be in town for the holiday?

I'm not saying don't buy anything for your loved ones. I'm just saying try to be realistic about what you can afford; what would really be meaningful. What that person you are buying for might be really, really grateful to receive.

Tomorrow I hope you all enjoy a great day with your families. Look around you, take it in. Think about what's important.  Give thanks this year. For real.

PS: The person that created the ecard above is brilliant. Just sayin'

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