Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving and Shopping

Over the past few weeks there have been different lists of retailers going around on social media, A list of those retailers  that will be open for shopping on Thanksgiving Day and another of those that will be closed.  This information has been shared and shared and shared in an effort to get us to boycott those stores that believe that consumerism is more important than time spent with friends and loved ones.  Until this morning, I was on board with not giving in to the rampant consumerism, exhibited by shopping on Thanksgiving Day,  in our country - not that I had any plans to shop today, but I was willing to commit to spending my money only with those stores that remained closed today when I was ready to shop.  So what changed?

As we headed to church this morning, I was especially thankful that in a few hours I would be sharing a home cooked meal with my whole family.  I was keenly aware of the fact that many people would not be spending their Thanksgiving that way.  Too many people are lonely and have no one to call family or even friend.  Too many people have no means with which to prepare a Thanksgiving meal.  For many people the holiday season is marked by sadness and despair rather than joy and hope.  These are the people who volunteer to work on holidays such as today.

For those who have no family or friends, working on holidays is a way to conquer, or at least dull a bit, the loneliness that today could bring.  It is a way to be out among people,  sharing in the excitement as the Christmas season officially gets underway.   The good wishes that are exchanged between customers and employees may be the only thoughtful words that these people hear today.

Some people may choose to work today to earn money to pay their rent in a few days, or put any meal on their family's table, or buy that one special Christmas gift for their child.   It is quite the conundrum that society has created for itself.  In an ideal and compassionate world,  today would be a paid holiday for all retail workers and public Thanksgiving tables would be available and open to anyone who wished to eat in communion with others.  Maybe someday...

Until then, remember that you do not know the story of the person who checks you out at Target, or finds the correct sized shirt for you at Macy's, or prepares your order at McDonald's.  You could make that person's day with a smile and a genuine "thank-you."  Isn't that what today is about, giving thanks?

I still am not going anywhere near a store today, but I have softened my rather judgemental attitude toward stores that are open and the people who have chosen to shop.  It is always advantageous to be able to look at multiple sides of an issue and at least try to understand the perspective of both parties. I think that today I matured to that point at least on this issue.


I am thankful to have shared a meal and the afternoon with my family.

This year, Weber smoked the turkey and Brooke prepared everything else.  My only responsibility was the mashed potatoes.  Well, and cleaning.  There is a real possibility that the amount of dog hair that I vacuumed up outweighed the turkey!

It is a long sad story, but we are without a dishwasher right now while we wait for an ordered part to come in so that it can be repaired.  This is probably the worst week of the year to be in this situation!  Brooke has been good all week about washing dishes as she goes.  After dinner this afternoon, Weber washed, Jason dried, and I put away.  With a little team work, it all went quickly and smoothly, with the exception of the one broken bowl.  :-)

With all of the terrible, scary, ugly, painful things that are going on in the world right now,  we all need to remember to count our blessings.  We need to give thanks for what we have and we need to makes sure that we tell those close to us that we love them whenever we have the opportunity.  Nothing is certain in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those in the U.S. and to those of you who don't celebrate this holiday, I pray that your day was blessed  and for that, you are grateful.