Okay, enough is enough. Enough of this self-righteous bullying of Black Friday/Thanksgiving shoppers. I hate the idea of shopping on Thanksgiving more that anyone. I won’t be shopping that day, but for the love of all that is holy, please stop with the judgmental screeds about commercialism and depriving people of time with their families by making them work. If you don’t want to shop that day, great–if you have a job that forces you to work that day–find another one.
First of all, some people don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Who are you to tell them that they can’t shop that day? Obviously there are plenty of people out there who want to shop on Thanksgiving–otherwise the companies wouldn’t be open in the first place. They are serving a demand. We don’t jump all over Jews for going to the movies on Christmas, do we? And don’t even start about how it is all the fault of the evil companies–each and every sale they make is made to one of us–who line up a day early to save a hundred bucks.
Secondly, lots of professions force people to work on holidays, and they have for as long as anyone can remember. Service personnel, toll workers, emergency personnel, security guards, reporters–getting time off on Thanksgiving is not a right. It certainly isn’t a right on Memorial Day, Independence Day or MLK Day, what makes Thanksgiving special? If your job doesn’t give you the benefits you want or need (like Thanksgiving Day off from work, for instance) time to get cracking on a new one, am I right?
Thirdly, hypocrisy (fourthly, fragments). The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 in order to share the Pilgrims’ bountiful harvest with near-strangers. How many of us are out there sharing our bounty on Thursday? With strangers? Anyone?
George Washington in 1789 established the first national Thanksgiving as a day of prayer, Thanksgiving and supplication to God for His providence. Surely not all of us are spending the day praying, much less to God? I know you’re out there, Atheists and agnostics.
Abraham Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as our National Thanksgiving Day in 1863. However, this day was moved in the middle of the last century by FDR to the fourth Thursday of November… In order to… wait for it… To prolong the Christmas shopping season. Heart warming, no? Since when has the modern notion of Thanksgiving as food, football and family (in that order) been so sacrosanct? Those have absolutely nothing to do with any of the origins of the holiday. In fact, the most recent day set aside for Thanksgiving was set by FDR for the very purpose of boosting the economy. In other words, the person buying an LCD TV is acting in the spirit of the modern holiday more than us face-stuffers and loafers are.
As for the Christians out there lamenting that people are forced to work on Turkey Day because of rampant and unfettered commercialism so that they can’t be thankful with their families–stuff it. No, seriously. If you go out to eat after church on Sundays or go grocery shopping so that people at Ruby Tuesday and Sam’s Club can’t go to church, I don’t want to hear it. This is just an opportunity to get on your soap box about one day while the beam in your eye prevents a clearer view of the issue.
I’m not insensitive to the claims that runaway materialism is ruining our families and crippling our country. It surely is. Not just on Thursday, though. Be thankful. Be thankful every day, not just on Thanksgiving. Just don’t pretend like our over-eating and enjoying a day off to watch football and parades is somehow morally superior to someone indulging another form of gluttony at Best Buy–or maybe someone buying a gift for a loved one that they otherwise couldn’t afford. It’s more complicated than a Huffington Post Op-Ed (though I do enjoy Matt Walsh) or a rant by a dude in Tennessee.
Bottom line–if you’re not using the day as an opportunity for prayer and thanksgiving to God and instead are ridiculing people for spending their night at Target, you are just looking for an excuse to say that you’re better than someone else–that the way you do Thanksgiving is better than everyone else’s, even though it has little to do with the real origins of the holiday. You might as well be complaining about the direction people place their toilet paper rolls.
Lastly, if you are paying protesters to go to Wal-Mart on Thanksgiving (SEIU) in order to ruin people’s day for shopping on Thanksgiving, YOU are a bigger part of the problem. Think about it–paying people to work on Thanksgiving to protest… working… On Thanksgiving?
David Teesdale’s Thanksgiving is better than yours. But that is because of his famed Mac and Cheese and deviled eggs. God comes to our house on Thanksgiving. For those.