"Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves." --Rainer Maria Rilke (©julenisse/Fotolia)

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

To Grandmother's House We Go... Until the Stores Open

Some of my friends can’t wait for the holidays. The rest can’t wait for them to be over. It’s no wonder we’re conflicted. We’ve allowed our most traditional, warm and fuzzy holiday to be smothered by an avalanche of consumerism and immediate gratification.

Goodbye “over the river and through the woods.” This year, it’s over to Target to get the goods.
Meanwhile, Squanto and Norman Rockwell are spinning in their graves and Thanksgiving is forced to stand as a bookend for a season of competitive retailing and manufactured desire.

There’s plenty of cluck-clucking and tsk-tsking over stores that dare to be open Thanksgiving, but we have only ourselves to blame. And by “we” I mean this collective society in which we live... the same way that “we” are to blame for Congress: We put up with the insanity.

Walmart and Macy’s know they can count on us to worship at their altars, that we will happily whip out our credit cards and partake in their communion of greed.

If you ask me, there are only three stores that should be open on Thanksgiving: the drug store, in case of medical emergency; the grocery store, in case you forgot the Cool Whip; and the liquor store, for obvious reasons. The rest should shut their pie holes and their doors. Isn’t it bad enough they’re going to open at 4 a.m. the next morning anyway?

As if we weren’t under enough pressure already to set the perfect table and roast the biggest, most succulent bird, complete with the grandmother’s secret dressing and homemade cranberry sauce. Now we’re supposed to have the once-sacred feast gobbled up in time for friends and family to push back their chairs and jump in the minivan to hit the sales?

Save my pie, I’ve got an X-box to buy.

Will this new holiday tradition replace touch football, pumpkin pie and Aunt Bobbie’s tipsy tirade against the president?

Oops, did we forget to say grace?

This Thanksgiving retail craze represents the opposite of counting our blessings. It epitomizes, as one friend called it this week, a society that has lost the gifts of gratitude and graciousness. We haven’t even digested and appreciated what’s right under our noses before we’ve started sniffing around for something more.

See you next year, there’s a sale on cashmere.

To shop, or not to shop. If that is the question... my answer is “no!”

Please pass the pie.

This piece first appeared in the HuffPost

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