Black Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving – November 28, 2013

For the life of me, I have never understood the rationale behind getting up at three o’clock in the morning to go shopping, fighting mobs of bargain hunters and over limited sales items, even if one does save a few dollars.  Yet this is precisely what millions of Americans, and I assume it is mostly women, do the day after Thanksgiving, which has become known as Black Friday.  It is this holiday weekend that officially kicks off the start of the Christmas shopping binge, the time of the year when a good many businesses make most of their yearlong profits.

However, all this is changing this year as more and more stores are opening on Thanksgiving, enticing shoppers to leave their families at home on the day this nation supposedly celebrates all for which they are thankful.  Granted, most women probably find nothing more boring than watching three National Football League games all day long, thankful to get out of the house.  As I get older, I find myself watching fewer and fewer NFL games, thus depending on the games being played this day; I might or might not watch them all.  However, if I am sitting at home watching a game, I have a guitar on my lap, picking away and not really playing much attention to the game.

What I find rather peculiar however about this holiday, is the fact that several department store chains, such as Kmart, Meijer and Big Lots, are opening their doors early in the morning, either at six or seven o’clock.  Is there not one holiday left in America, let alone one’s Sabbath, which is set aside for time spent with one’s family and friends?  Of course, there are probably a lot of single people who have nothing better to do than go shopping, but how many mothers, wives and daughters, not to mention fathers, husbands, and sons that will have to spend the holiday working for minimum wage?

Since my divorce seventeen years ago, I no longer have to get caught up in the Christmas shopping frenzy.  When married, I hated going shopping in December, when the stores are filled with stressed out shoppers, all the while seemingly half the cash registers stand empty with no cashiers behind them, forcing shoppers to wait much too long in line, waiting impatiently to check out.  Thankfully, due to my divorce and now the internet, those reviled days are long behind me.

Another irritating feature of the holiday season is that each passing year sees more and more stores putting their Christmas decorations on display earlier and earlier.  Now days, once Halloween is over at the end of October, Christmas then takes its place, if not sooner.  Being raised in a Protestant church during my youth, I never understood the correlation between the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and buying gifts for everyone you knew.  Granted, the Christian biblical story goes that the three wise men each brought a gift to the baby Jesus; however, the Christmas holiday season has become much more of a shopping extravaganza, a celebration of the pagan capitalist god of commerce than the Christian observance of the birth of the Son of God.

May our Lord, by whichever name we choose to call him, have pity on us!

Steven H. Spring

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