Thursday, November 25

Another Obsessive Holiday Disorder

What do you do for Thanksgiving? Or maybe that’s not the best question. Maybe I should ask, “Why do you do Thanksgiving?” Or, “What does Thanksgiving mean to you?” I’d bet most people would say the thing they love about Thanksgiving is getting together with friends and family. An occasional person may say ‘turkey,’ but then they try to make it obvious they were kidding, especially when they weren’t. Most people will also say that it makes them slow down and be thankful for what life has brought them.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I think of thankfulness, contentment is a word that also pops up in my head. When I am thankful for something I am perfectly content with it, I’m happy with it. I don’t need more. And on Thanksgiving, when we declare what we are thankful for, don’t we often mean that we’re happy with it and content with it? There may be something flashier and more exciting, but I don’t need it. And so, every Thanksgiving we count our blessings and take time to be thankful….

….only to turn around and become enthralled with our consumerism-based society on a day affectionately called “Black Friday.” And I know many of you spend days gearing up for Black Friday. You scope out all the deals and go to bed early so you can be at the store front before doors open so that you can be one of the first in. If you’re really ambitious, you pitch a tent the night before so that you are guaranteed your spot in line. And this is all for what? That 42” TV screen? Oh yeah, because the 36” one you bought last Black Friday just doesn’t make the cut anymore. Plus that TV is on sale for hundreds of dollars less than the starting price. It’s practically begging you to buy it. And while you’re at it, you might as well buy that cheap blu-ray player and some of those $10 blu-ray movies so you can make use of all 42” of high definition heaven (which would make 36” something less then heaven?).

What happened to the contentment? What happened to the thankfulness for what you had? It was the promise of saving money on something you probably wouldn’t get otherwise. Even worse, it becomes a battle with every other shopper turning into your enemy. Thanksgiving day we applaud and may even volunteer for organizations like Mel Trotter, who serve dinner on Thanksgiving for under privileged families and individuals, but on Friday may God have mercy on the one who buys the store's last of the item you wanted five minutes before you arrived.

To make it better, stores even started instituting Thanksgiving day sales! Hurry up and eat that turkey and pumpkin pie, otherwise you won’t make it to Wal-Mart in time. Let’s all wait and share what we’re thankful for while we’re waiting in the mile long lines that develop.

What would happen if you didn’t go Black Friday shopping for once? Maybe you won’t get that pair of shoes you wanted. Or maybe you could take that money and save it, putting it towards repaying your school loans. Or maybe you spend it on Christmas gifts for others (unless you use Black Friday as your Christmas shopping day, in which case you might be granted some leniency in your craziness). Or maybe you take the money set aside for the day and donate it. You’ll also be a lot calmer. Getting up at 2 a.m. can’t be good for your health or your attitude.

Wait, I know what you can. You can put in that Christmas album you’ve been dying to hear because you know that Christmas music isn’t supposed to played until after Thanksgiving. Now unless I’m mistaken you’ve got some pumpkin pie leftovers calling your names.

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