The trend for earlier celebrations of the holidays has bothered me for some time now. This year, while looking for school supplies in August, I discovered that the back to school aisle had already been converted to Halloween candy. Of course, Christmas had taken over that aisle long before Halloween was over.
You’ve likely seen the news- what was once Black Friday, the big shopping day that followed Thanksgiving Day, is now creeping onto Thanksgiving Day. Kmart and Old Navy are opening on Thanksgiving Day in the morning. Other retailers are opening in the evening.
For the last few decades, there have been only 2 days in a year when we could be relatively sure that most families could gather without distraction: Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s sad to see the practice of family togetherness on these days come to an end. Here are 7 reasons why your family should keep the Thanksgiving Day as a distraction free day.
- Heritage is important. Maintaining family and religious traditions help children to know they have a bigger meaning than just being consumers or pawns in this world.
- You’re too busy. I hear some people saying they like the idea of going shopping on Thanksgiving because they will have ready-made babysitters as their family gathers. If you’re that busy, you don’t need to go shopping. You need time with your kids and with the rest of your family.
- Thanksgiving is the last non-consumer day. This is a day that we pause to reflect on God’s blessings. God blesses in much greater ways than barn-buster sales. Focus on the interpersonal relationships that he’s blessed you with.
- Shopping is not a family outing. Sure, a few of you may enjoy shopping, but very few families are all collectively excited about being dragged to the mall. The holidays can be stressful enough without introducing this new stress to those who resist shopping.
- The early start to the shopping season further diminishes the meaning of Christmas. By encouraging shopping early, we continue to decrease the traditional celebration of Christmas (The Christ’s Mass) and replace it with MallMass (The celebration of materialism). Some may choose to do that, but you don’t have to join this trend.
- The sales aren’t worth it. There’s two reasons why they aren’t worth it. First, being together as a family, reflecting on God’s gifts, is more valuable than even free stuff, if the stores were even offering free stuff. Second, not only do stores fail to offer free stuff, but more and more studies recognize that “Black Friday sales” are often the most expensive sales of the holiday season. The truth is the super deals (i.e., the laptop for $150) aren’t available, and aren’t the quality that you really need. Skip them and save money later in the season.
- Others have to work. Even if your family wants to go out on Thanksgiving, the message you send by supporting Thanksgiving Day shopping is that you don’t care for the family. Think of how many 17 year olds are pulled out of their family celebrations to work the sales on Thanksgiving Day. You may hear that the stores don’t “make” anyone miss the whole day with their family, but that isn’t adequate. The truth is that many will have to make a decision- my family or my job.
I’m not going anywhere this Thanksgiving. I’ll be home with my family, reflecting on each of them as the best gifts that God has given me. I hope you will make this a day to minister to one another.