I’m not one to post an opinion piece. Lord knows I don’t want to add to the cacophony of “expert” opinions. However, something has been on my mind lately about Thanksgiving so I’m just going to say this real quick and then get back to our regularly scheduled programming of running videos and personal introspection.
Stop complaining about Christmas in November. Seriously. If you don’t, the shops/ad agencies/networks are going to start to think you’re just as willing to buy Thanksgiving as you are to buy Christmas and do you know what will happen then? Thanksgiving, the last true good holiday that remains about family, feelings, charity, thanks, will be sold out in commercials, movie specials, songs, and various other things you can buy.
I know what you’re going to say next. Well why can’t these companies just wait until after Thanksgiving to start selling me Christmas? Well that’s a nice thought in’t it? It ain’t gonna happen. Ever since Tim Burton paved the holiday bridge between Halloween and Christmas, the man caught on. Capitalism, commercialism, it has no moral compass of its own. We know this. It follows the almighty dollar as far as it will reach. As long as they think then CAN sell you something, they will. Right now they can sell you Christmas in November. And frankly that’s fine with me, because it keeps Thanksgiving sacred. Christmas is kind of a lost cause as far as commercialism goes. Wouldn’t you agree? The trippings and trappings and ribbons and bows are all intrinsically embedded in the American celebration of the holiday. I’m ok with that. I love a good made-for-tv Christmas movie and a $5 Gingerbread latte. I will pay for those things. But we’ve been duped into thinking that that level of commercialism is the measure of honoring a holiday. As much as I love Christmas I don’t really want to see the same thing happen to Thanksgiving. It’s still sacred. For whatever reason the execs still agree that we don’t want to buy it. Be warned. The more we complain about Christmas carols on the radio in November the more they’re going to take it as a sign that we must want to buy Thanksgiving carols instead.
Thanksgiving occurs around the same time as the single most commercially represented holiday in the U.S. and so we all have this false notion that because we’re seeing ads about Santa that must mean we don’t honor Thanksgiving. Is a holiday without commercialism unacceptable to us? Do you really see the advertising of Christmas in November as an affront to Thanksgiving? Following that logic, the only way to honor a holiday is to sell or buy it. Is that what keeps a holiday sacred? Do we measure the value of a holiday based on the commercials promoting it or the songs on the radio those commercials have sponsored? I sure don’t. I have some news for you. All those Christmas commercials/songs/scented candles? Yeah, they’re not about honoring the true meaning of the holiday. I hate to break that to you. They’re about getting you to buy something. Don’t confuse those who sell us stuff as those who determine our value system. Very dangerous. I really believe the fact that there is a lack of Thanksgiving “stuff” is the most wonderful testament of all to how we value the day.
I often think of how holidays are celebrated in various specific cultural groups. Let’s take Jewish holidays for example. They don’t need greeting cards, magazines, and radio commercials to mark the value of Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. The holidays’s meanings run so much deeper. Wouldn’t it be nice for us as an entire country to have ONE American holiday we didn’t sell out to Hallmark?
But we have to be careful. They’re listening, and responding. More and more stores are staying open on Thanksgiving. Black Friday is encroaching on this truly sacred day of thanks and love. The other night I watched a Hallmark movie about Thanksgiving!
Let’s keep Thanksgiving pure. Let them play Silent Night on KOST 103.5 starting November 15th. Let Hallmark hawk their collector ornaments in October. It’s just stuff to buy. Thanksgiving still thrives beyond all that. Without money, without ads, without sales. Thanksgiving endures as a day of being good, giving back, saying thanks, loving each other. Let all that other noise continue. It’s fine. Seeing Santa at the mall the day after Halloween is the biggest compliment of all. It affirms the truth that, no, we don’t want to buy Thanksgiving.