I can’t open blogs I like to read or Facebook or Twitter without seeing a “Save Thanksgiving! Don’t Shop! Campaign to stop stores from being open on Thanksgiving.” “Keep Thanksgiving for Family” 15 years ago I would have been one of them.
I always rather respected Chick-fil-a for not being open on Sundays. Since I grew up in a Blue Law state–it was weird to run errands on Sunday. I did though. I suspect most people don’t even think twice about it. I still do.
I remember the days when you had to hope a filling station was open and had eggs/whipped cream/whatever it is you had forgotten or you just did without.
In any case, 15 years ago, I was balancing an infant and 2 other children under age 5 and doing my level best to bring the Thanksgiving traditions to my children. I daydreamed of days watching parades and college football. I cooked a turkey, stuffing (2 types), cranberry sauce (2 types), Red hot jello, cranberry bread, rolls, pies, Old Witch cake. One day the lovely day of Thanksgiving would be…magic.
Things changed. A few years later, I was looking at my second Thanksgiving without the kids home. The year before we’d gone to South Carolina. What I remember of that Thanksgiving was standing on my mother-in-law’s front step after hanging up the phone from talking to my children, trying not to weep. I walked. I pondered. All six kids in our respective blended families were with their fathers.
The next year we stayed home. A fake Thanksgiving had been planned for another day. There was no escaping the day though. All closed. Day of work off. The tv wouldn’t distract. And so, Denise took us to Kmart and to the drugstore, the only two places open. They were deserted. The workers were either like us–families without family for the day or young folk who weren’t going home.
It helped. A lot. I had something to focus on besides the fact that it seemed like EVERYONE in the country was with their family. I got to focus on the holiday where my kids would be home, would wake up, would enjoy a day with family. And the people working? They were happy to be making some money, happy for a relatively quiet work day with cheerful people. It wasn’t the mad rush that Black Friday brings. It wasn’t even the every day stress.
But, this year, I am bombarded with people saying that people like me…who shop on Thanksgiving aren’t believers in family. Really? Think about that again. Realize that not every family is YOUR family. Remember that some people just try to get through the day without mind-numbing depression, just plain blahs, or thinking too hard about the things they might have done. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Don’t shop if that is not what is right for you. But, don’t keep saying that I don’t value family. If I didn’t, I’d be happy to pick up a case of beer the night before, hang out drinking and throwing fireworks in the driveway while the neighbors try to enjoy the day.
No, I don’t want it to become a forced day of work for anyone. But I know a lot of people who would love the work that day, who want the money, who can work out another day or another way to be with family.
Just remember, that every time you say “Keep Thanksgiving for Family” “Don’t shop on Thanksgiving if you love your kids” you are making a judgment call not just against corporate America…but against people…like me. I love my family. I’d move heaven and earth for my family and they all know it. They know Anything, Anywhere is true. Always.