Are We Seeing the Slow Death of Thanksgiving?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Or, have you noticed amongst the Christmas lights and Black Friday coupons?

We have long lamented how Christmas has slowly overshadowed over Thanksgiving.
  The decorations go up earlier each year and the holiday TV ads show up on our screen
 just days after Halloween.

Although Christmas has always crowded Thanksgiving, we still made time to stuff ourselves with turkey before venturing out in the wee hours of the morning to score some Black Friday deals.

But now, not even Thanksgiving is sacred. Many stores — Walmart, Kmart, Target, Best Buy — have elected to open their doors early on Thanksgiving morning.

It seems that Thanksgiving has simply become a speed bump on the mad rush to the holidays.

And frankly, it makes me sad.

This excellent article from The Huffington Post highlights this disturbing trend:

How appropriate, then, that a holiday created by our ancestors as an occasion to give thanks for what they had, now morphs into a frenzied consumerist ritual where we descend upon shopping malls to accumulate more things we don’t need. Our great grandparents enjoyed a meal and praised the Lord for the food on the table and the friends and family gathered around it. We, having slightly altered the tradition, instead elect to bum-rush elderly women and trample over children to get our hands on cheap TVs.

For a while, Black Friday and Thanksgiving coexisted. We thanked God for His blessings on Thursday, and then jumped into the consumer mosh pit at Best Buy on Friday. But this Black Friday-Thanksgiving marriage was tenuous and rocky from the start. It was doomed to fail. Thanksgiving offers tradition, family and contentment; Black Friday offers smart phones at drastically reduced prices. In America, we all know who wins that battle.”

The First Thanksgiving

Are We Seeing the Slow Death of Thanksgiving?
The First Thanksgiving: Public domain

If you’ve ever read the story of the first Thanksgiving, you know that it wasn’t just a meal. It was extending a hand of friendship between two people.

This Washington Times article shares the account of how the Wampanoag Indians made contact with the Pilgrims, who were struggling to survive after they arrived in New England during the harsh winter. The Indians provided assistance to the Pilgrims and established a friendship with them. And, in turn, the Pilgrims later invited the Indians to a gathering to thank them for their assistance.

Here is why this event was so significant:

“Such a celebration must have been emotionally overwhelming to the surviving Pilgrims, as they felt cared for in such a generous manner by the Wampanoags at this time of feasting. It truly represents more than an opportunity for two diverse peoples to gorge themselves on good food. The demonstration of goodwill and kindness was reciprocal. In retrospect, it may have given the Pilgrims a bit of hope for their future survival in such a rugged foreign land. At the heart of this incredible event is a demonstration of how two completely diverse groups of human beings overcame their significant differences, and secured common ground to celebrate life itself.”

What Thanksgiving is All About

The reason I’m sharing all of this is that I hope that we can all play a small part in keeping Thanksgiving alive and getting back to it’s original roots — one of gratitude, compassion and friendship.

Just think how much good could be accomplished in our country and in this world if we would stop and extend a hand to those in need around us.

What would happen if we take the time to truly love on our neighbors and be generous to them?

Or, instead of simply BEING thankful, what if we actually showed our gratitude and appreciation for the friends, family and people in our lives?

What if we made Thanksgiving more about generosity than consumerism?

I can only imagine how much richer our lives would be if that happened.

I’m Thankful for YOU

I know I can’t single-handedly change Thanksgiving. But, I can do my small part.

I’m going to start not by listing all of the things I’m thankful for, but by taking the time to let the people in my life know just how much they mean to me.

And, that includes you.

I appreciate the people in my online community who take time out of their busy schedule to read my blog, share their ideas and spread the word on social networks.

I’m grateful for the people who are visiting here for the first time. (I hope you’ll say hello and stick around).

I’m truly thankful for my wonderful clients I get to work with every day. Getting to make a difference in your businesses is so rewarding to me and I’m incredibly grateful to be part of that.

I’m blessed to work with many great vendor partners and colleagues who make my work fun and exciting. Thank you for your talents and friendship!

I’m thankful for those of you who have referred business my way. I never take your trust for granted.

And, I’m thankful for my family and friends who have been my biggest fans along the way. Your support means the world to me.

What are YOU Thankful for

If you’re like me, you have a lot to be thankful for. And not just for the things in your life, but the people in it.

My sincere hope is that you tell them. Let people know how much you care. It is these small acts of kindness, friendship and love that can truly change the world.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Image credit: George Artwood

Share This Post

Picture of Laura Click

Laura Click

Laura Click is brand strategist, speaker, podcaster and the founder of Blue Kite. Learn more about Laura and her work at Blue Kite.

2 replies on “Are We Seeing the Slow Death of Thanksgiving?”

Hi Laura,

I was eager to read this post, given the saucy title. When I got here, I was surprised no one had yet commented, and so few had shared what I thought was sure to be a resonant topic. One can only chalk it up to “busiest travel day of the year” I suppose…? Then again, I had to run an errand earlier, and you’d never know people were at the airport cause all of Seattle seemed to be surrounding my car like attacking white blood cells.

I gave up on December years ago. Yup, the entire month. There’s about a 6-square block radius of downtown that you dare not enter during the entire month– if you’re unlucky enough that your plans call for you to enter “the zone” during Christmas time (oh joy), you’re doomed. Take extra water, batteries, a foil blanket and a transistor radio. Santa just takes over downtown and doesn’t release his grip until January.

Thanks heavens for online shopping. As for Thanskgiving, our family still very much practices it, but of course we’ve noticed “the creep”. Signs include commercials which run earlier and earlier, xmas lights on my neighbors’ houses, and the surest sign of the season: the winter menu at Starbucks!

Have a happy holiday– I’m thankful for you,

Thanks for the kind words, Stephen. I’m really glad you enjoyed it and that it resonated. As much as I want businesses to succeed and make the most of holiday sales, I also hope that Thanksgiving (and even Christmas) doesn’t get lost in all of the consumerism. I think thankfulness is important – I hope people found some time to pause and be grateful yesterday.

I’m thankful for you too! I always appreciate your perspective. Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

We thought you might like these