Celebrate Thanksgiving with those you love – not strangers in a shopping mall

To me holidays are a time to hit the “pause button” from the rituals and responsibilities that surround our daily lives.

It’s a time to reconnect with family and friends; to break out the fancy china and linens; to prepare a feast uncommonly found on your dining table during a busy work-week. In short, it’s a time to be thankful for all the blessings you have before you on a day which should be considered special, not ordinary.

When I was growing up you’d be hard pressed to find a food store or retailer open on time-honored holidays. Highways and side streets were like utter ghost towns – void of frenzied commuters rushing from here and there. It was an opportunity for reflection and appreciation as the entire population shed their normal day-to-day existence to enjoy good food, good company and good times.

But that was a long time ago now.

I just read that Best Buy, along with other retail giants including Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, and Office Max will be opening their stores on Thanksgiving Day (Kmart will be open starting at 6 AM!). As if midnight hours weren’t bad enough when introduced a few years ago, now the entire meaning behind Thanksgiving itself seems to be nothing more than a reason to shop for holiday deals.

In a statement from Best Buy: “Last year, millions of people made it clear that they wanted to shop on Thanksgiving evening.” And I don’t doubt that millions more will shorten their Thanksgiving festivities in search of what holiday deals retailers have to offer.

H.U. Westermayer once remarked, “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”

We have much more to be thankful for than we realize, and far too often take for granted. The truth of the matter is you never know how many more holidays you have left on this earth. So find your reason to be thankful this year and celebrate it with the ones you love. Not in a crowded shopping mall, but in the space you call home. A place you’re glad to hit the “pause button” – even for just one day – to celebrate the “gifts” you won’t find in a store.