Thanks, Big Box Stores, for Ruining Thanksgiving

The day to give thanks is becoming nothing more than a prelude to Black Friday shopping as stores promote greed and undermine values.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, Thanksgiving was regarded as the beginning of the holiday season. Store Christmas decorations didn't go up until the day for thanks had been celebrated.  

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was the official arrival of Santa. 

Today, however, Thanksgiving has become nothing more than the starting gun for a race to Black Friday deals and, sadly, Santa arrived in the mall shortly after Halloween.

Friends have told me disappointing stories this year. They have bemoaned how their family doesn’t want to get together this year because Mom and Sis are going out that night for the almighty Black Friday deals. is opening at 10 p.m. Thursday and two hours later, don’t you know?!? 

No grand turkey dinners for 12; no thankful prayers over the bounty. Now, Thanksgiving Day has turned into mad shopping preparation.

I feel badly for the employees of these Scrooge stores. They can’t spend time with their families. They have to sleep so they can be up all night taking care of customers.

Thanksgiving Day has been sacrificed for commercialism.

It’s this type of attitude that has helped along the breakdown of the family unit.

We, as a nation, need to get Thanksgiving back. Get our holiday of family, blessings and togetherness back. 

Merchants have turned to campaigns of, “We’ll be open first,” and “We’ll be open all night so you don’t have to stand outside.”  (Gee, thanks so much for your considerate store hours...)

Radio and television commercials promote selfishness and over-spending. They make anyone without the means to buy every toy or gadget available feel worthless or, worse yet, they encourage them to max out their credit cards in an unstable economy in an attempt to keep up.

Best Buy has an appalling commercial in which Mom greets Santa on Christmas Eve night with a cup of coffee in her hand. Her family's stockings are stuffed to overflowing, leaving Santa no place to put his gift. She haughtily smiles at him as she says in the snarkiest tone, “Oh, I guess I didn’t leave any room for you. Awkward.” Then she suggests he could put the gift in the dog's empty stocking as she flounces off to bed, leaving Santa feeling rather useless. Nice morals to promote there, Best Buy.

There is a Pier One commercial that suggests you rig the office gift exchange so you get your own name in order and buy yourself the gift you want instead of giving someone else a gift. 

And then there is the Kindle commercial where the woman says, “It is better to receive than give.” Really?

What are we saying to the younger generation? We are enabling the “Age of Entitlement” by promoting this selfish outlook and over indulgence.  

Yet, there is a glimmer of hope. Has anyone seen the Nordstrom sign yet? 

It reads:





Kudos to them for realizing the greediness that the other “big box stores” have created. The likes of the Walmart and Best Buy have generated such a frenzy over Christmas that they have taken the meaning out of the entire holiday season. 

What’s next? Post Christmas sales starting on Dec. 25? Open your gifts and head to the store to exchange them because we never get what we really want anyway.

No thank you.

This Mom is going to be celebrating Thanksgiving with family, friends and my beautiful goddaughter, who will be attending her first Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be thankful for this year and we intend to give thanks, not peruse the adverts looking for the best deal while strapping on gym shoes and cross checking the Christmas list.

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours.

Megan November 23, 2011 at 01:35 PM
Families still have the right to keep their family traditions and values in tact by choosing not to participate in the Black Friday hype.
Tony November 23, 2011 at 01:53 PM
I don't blame the stores for catering to these people, its how they make a living. Nowadays some stores are open on Christmas day and I will be the first to admit I have purchased stuff that I needed to finish the Xmas dinner.
Lori Janiec November 23, 2011 at 02:10 PM
Unfortunately, Megan, too many in today's society are lemmings with no will of their own. They would rather just go along than fight the good fight for Tradition and family.
Grace Toledo November 23, 2011 at 02:18 PM
Thanksgiving was always the one holiday that was about being with family and giving thanks for all of our blessings. It was just a matter of time before corporate America figured out a way to infiltrate this day. The best way to combat this mindset is to keep our family traditions and NOT SHOP on Thanksgiving. They will get the message real quick.
Marge Taylor November 23, 2011 at 02:46 PM
I totally agree with you Megan. Thank you for putting into words the way I feel.
Marge Taylor November 23, 2011 at 02:46 PM
I am sorry I totally agree with Lori.
Stephane Carlson November 23, 2011 at 03:38 PM
I agree with Lori, as well. I get that people have the choice of whether or not they want to shop to ruin their own Thanksgiving...but what about those people who have no choice - those whom work in said retail environments? Ever worked in retail? How about food service? More often than not, busy days like this are considered mandatory. If you're scheduled, you better work or else you can kiss your job good bye. Sad, really.
Cindi November 23, 2011 at 05:07 PM
I also believe that Thanksgiving is what you make it. I am a Neonatal Intensive Care Nurse and my husband works in International Finance (they obviously do not celebrate Thanksgiving) and we both have to work on Thursday. We have chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving on Friday instead. It is not the day of the week that matters, just that we are together with our family and can celebrate. I also hate that Black Friday has overtaken pretty much the last half of November, but I agree with Megan that it is our choice whether or not to participate. Both myself, my husband, and MANY other occupations who have to work on the holiday (including retail) have made the choice and know that it is a good possibility they will have to work on the holiday. Is it sad? Yes, but it is much sadder for the families of the babies I will take care of on Thanksgiving that they have to spend their holiday in the hospital with their sick baby. That is NOT their choice. The commercialism that surrounds the holidays is overwhelming, but we must choose to focus on our priorities, whatever they may be. And it is hard! My kids watch mostly Netflix for the 6 weeks before Christmas because I hate them being bombarded with all the commercials on regular TV. We listen to the ipod in the car because radio is just as bad. I try to keep them out of the stores as much as possible. We still celebrate the holidays, but we do it on OUR terms by choosing what activities to do and how much the kids will be exposed to.
Kari Endres November 23, 2011 at 05:37 PM
Kudos to you. Thanks for writing what many are thinking. Now is time to give thanks and share time with our loved ones. And by the way...sorry Wal-Mart and the rest of the big box stores, I hate to burst your bubble, but Christmas isn't about the presents.
Lori Janiec November 23, 2011 at 06:47 PM
Cindi - First let me say thank you for what you do. Without dedicated medical professionals such as yourself, the level of care in our country would not be what it is today. You and your colleagues fight the good fight. However, there is an ocean of difference between what you do and what the retailers force their employees to do in the name of "good business". There is a difference between necessity and greed. Because of greed, the "big box stores" have pushed the envelope to the point of nullifying the meaning of the holidays. As Kari mentioned, it's not about the presents...NO ONE will die if they don't catch a sale.
Raevyn November 23, 2011 at 07:35 PM
I am totally cool with the GROCERY stores being open a few hours, because it never fails, there's always something that is needed at the last minute. I am NOT cool with the "open all day" plan that Wallyworld has decided to embrace, and it irritates the hell out of me that people plan to go and shop that day at all. Their "need" to go spend a HOLIDAY at a store that is open 24 hours a day, every single day of the year except Christmas does NOT trump the right or need of the employees of that store, who may not get a single day off until Christmas to have one last day off to spend with family before the insanity that goes along with working retail between Thanksgiving & Christmas!
Megan November 23, 2011 at 07:45 PM
Cindi, thank you for reminding me what is truly important. Sometimes it it's hard to remember that there are families who are truly suffering through the holidays because we are so wrapped up in our own holiday drama. Those of us who have our health may be thankful for a long list of things, but when just a tiny breath is something on that list it is so heartbreaking. I know that I will be with my husband and my children tomorrow and that is what I am most thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.


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