Once upon a time in America, we were citizens and patriots. Now some would have us content ourselves with being consumers and patsies. We live in what was once called the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. Have we so forgotten our heritage and the premises and promises that bind us in the great American endeavor that we cannot forgo the mad rush for ever more trinkets and gadgets to spend time being thoughtful and thankful for those near and dear and the other serendipitous aspects of our lives and situations?
Acquisitiveness is not a noble trait. It does not make anyone a better person although it may make some people richer and others more indebted. While there is surely poverty and want in America, millions of American households are awash in material possessions that would turn most of humanity throughout history green with envy. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said concerning the richness of our personal relationships and the robustness of our familial connections.
Too many Americans have lost themselves in materialism and too many others work far too long for minimal return on their efforts. Especially during the season of harvest and gratitude, would we not be better off if we paused in the pursuit of things and reflected upon and cherished what we have?
It is easy to blame corporate greed when commercial enterprises announce intentions to infest Thanksgiving Day with the turmoil of Black Friday shopping, but this would not happen if millions of us had not behaved in a way that instills confidence in the corporate shot-callers that we will fail to consider the impact on the men and women who will be forced to work the majority of the day and evening in preparation for these huge selling free-for-alls. Nor do we show any consideration for their families who must await their return or celebrate without them while other people desperate to buy more material things can cram themselves into stores and jostle one another for dubious bargains.
If none of us shopped on Thanksgiving Day, the stores wouldn’t open. It is as simple as that. Let us all say we will take the pledge and stay home. Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for what you have, not to save a few dollars getting more. At what point does the treadmill of consumption cease to be worth the effort to keep it running?
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday that is meant as a day for appreciating what you already have, not as a day for acquiring more material things we almost surely do not truly need. With so much to enjoy and so little deprivation let us insist it is okay to reflect on our good fortune and celebrate one another’s company rather than striving to get more possessions. Let us resolve to adopt a calm and gentle approach to this day and thus provide a medium from which gratitude can naturally grow. Acquisitiveness poisons this festival for covetous people never believe they have what they need and deserve.
On November 27th, let us boycott any retailer that chooses to extend massive Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving Day. Let us strive to protect the employees, their families, and the true value of this festival of gratitude and togetherness. With a boycott of Black Thursday we can tell the big box stores it is okay to save at least one day every year where people can defer their grasping for more possessions and savor what they already have in the company of people they cherish.
It is not what people say about their blessings, but how they use them gives the real measure of their thankfulness. The true magic of Thanksgiving is that when people are genuinely grateful for who and what they have then whomever and whatever these may be; they will be more than enough. Authentic gratitude has the power to transform what we have into abundance; houses into homes; meals into feasts; and strangers into friends.
Once a year, by statute, Thanksgiving Day arrives, but to those in the know it comes as often as the heart of gratitude allows. Let us honor the day and distinguish ourselves with by taking time to appreciate who and what we have and showing our appreciation through word and deed. Let us honor the words we say by the actions we take and prove that in this crass and commercialized era we are still able to be the kind of people we always hoped we would prove to be.