Growing up I loved Thanksgiving.
Either the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade would be on in the den or we'd venture into the city to stand in the cold with the throngs of people eager to see Snoopy and Santa.
Our Thanksgiving dinner was rarely before 4pm to give any relatives attending the parade ample travel time - and there was always those few relatives that didn't drive and needed to be picked up, etc.
Our Thanksgiving table was always filled to capacity with family and sometimes friends. There were the years we had the adult table and the kids table. Lots of good food, wine when I was old enough, and warm family memories will forever be held in my heart.
Before dessert, the sounds of the football games would drift into the dining room from the den and the men would disappear. After dessert the couches and chairs would be full of bodies too stuffed to move and falling asleep to the laughter of jokes and the family chaos a holiday brings.
Thoughts of Christmas and want we wanted to put on our lists floated around the room - all of us comparing what we'd hoped Santa would bring.
The last guest rarely left our house before 11pm.
Over the last few weeks my mailbox has been flooded with the ads from the large retail chains announcing their "doorbuster" Thanksgiving day sales that begin at 8pm on Thanksgiving night! These same stores announce their opening on the holiday at every commercial break when I sit down to watch TV at night. (I can't believe they're proud of this behavior.)
For years now Thanksgiving has been overlooked by the stores as an actual holiday - we jump right from Halloween decorations to Christmas decorations. Now it's not at all about family, about the one non-religious day the whole country unites around to give thanks for all the good in our lives - NO, it's now about the start of the holiday buying season - it's about the all-mighty buck.
It's about having no respect for the retail employees who will work their tails off over the next few weeks with ridiculous hours while the stores try to cash in on every single buying second of the day they can. Don't those people deserve to spend a holiday dinner with their families too? I feel terrible for the people that will leave their dinner table at 6pm to be at their registers in the Targets and the Kmarts to greet customers at 8pm.
For me, I have no intention of leaving my house. I will get up and the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade will be playing in my living room - from start to finish. My husband and I will be cooking and my kids will be home - sucking up the memories. Our guests will arrive and they will be greeted with smiling faces, lots of food and the promise of passing out on my couch till after midnight if they so choose!
After dinner the holiday music will be turned on and over dessert and coffee my family will NOT talk about black-Friday sales. For one day, we will give thanks for what we do have - not what we want. We'll give thanks for the loved ones seated at our table, because you never know who won't be there next year.
There's plenty of time for holiday shopping - I refuse to let it intrude on a family holiday. (As a matter of fact, I'm thinking of NOT patronizing any store that opens on Thanksgiving night at all for ANY of my holiday shopping this year. I know, I'm getting old and cranky, but this has really managed to get under my skin this year.)
How about you? Will you be out patronizing the stores that open on Thanksgiving?