After witnessing scenes of Black Friday shoppers literally trampling others to get the best deal, it looks like there’s a slow movement away from the notion that Thanksgiving is only a holiday shortcut to the really important Christmas gift season. There doesn’t seem to be a logical explanation as to how Thanksgiving became such a prelude to greed and gifts-driven holiday as opposed to the food and thanks-driven one that we started out with when the Pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving.
One reason may be that we are not a rural society, where farmer’s almanacs and the harvest schedule even comes into play. Another is that we have grown into a secular society that doesn’t easily incorporate holidays with innately religious overtones. Thus, we have blended societies wants and needs in a 21st Century world with a holiday that is basically stuck in the 17th Century. That is where we’re at these days with Thanksgiving.
In this world we live in, full of hustle and high-tech, here are a few suggestions to bring the original intent of the Thanksgiving holiday into focus. As we kick off the holiday season, it seems appropriate to reflect and give thanks for all that we have in our daily lives. Here are six steps to bringing us back to the Thanksgiving holiday that was intended:
1.· Tuesday, December 1st is Giving Tuesday. At #GivingTuesday, charities, families, businesses, community centers and schools will work together to spread the word about Giving Tuesday. The idea is to donate, to celebrate generosity and the spirit of giving, and to give to a charity of your choice either your time or your money or both.
2.· FairTrade: On Cyber Monday, and during the Christmas giving season, look online for the items that are marked Fair Trade. Almost all large churches and many small businesses honor and promote Fair Trade items.
3.· Give thanks for all you have in your own life. Your own friends and family, and the bounty we share is in direct contrast with others in our communities and neighborhoods and schools that don’t have food security, a safe place to live, a roof over their heads, or a job.
4 · As Americans, we should give thanks each day for America’s Bounty. Our harvest, our workers, our military which is many times larger than any other standing army on the planet, and our ingenuity and hopeful “Can-do” attitude that has always been a part of the American Dream.
5 · Finally, we are a Spiritually wealthy country, with many diverse religious backgrounds that should be able to live in harmony and worship freely, as that is a core value in our Constitution.
·6 Our bounty includes the Age of Information that we live in, that enables us to live in a Global Village, surrounded by knowledge, which should be a positive thing.
In the end, if we can give thanks for simple things like our health and the pleasures of being with family and friends, that may counter all the Black Friday trends that our nation has seen and will hopefully fade away in time. To help those less fortunate, to remember to give thanks for who we are; to learn to let go, and just to Give Thanks one day out of the year, that remains the best part of the Thanksgiving Holiday.