More than 20 years ago I was sitting in a coffee shop with friends. We were all young mothers enjoying a morning away from the children and we were talking about the encroachment of Christmas on Thanksgiving. It was getting worse, we all agreed. Someone pointed out the toy ads had started arriving in mid-November!
I said I thought that one day in the not-too-distant future, Thanksgiving would lose its place and become a feast day in the middle of a Christmas holiday season that would run from November to (maybe through) January. Everyone just rolled their eyes. Trust the writer to exagerate.
I hadn’t thought about that conversation in a long time. But this year when the candy canes were out before the Halloween candy in some places, and pop radio stations started playing Christmas music November 1st, I remembered what I said that day. I think I was right.
I suppose it is to be expected. There is a lot of money to be made at Christmas time and the longer the shopping season goes the more chances there are to sell and buy. (Of course, when times are hard it takes even more time to talk people into buying what they don’t need and can’t afford, and for a lot of people in this country right now times are very hard.) And because Christmas is a happy time of year—even when the cheer is forced— it’s human nature to want to extend a good time as long as possible.
A day of Thanksgiving is just too simple, I guess. There are no gifts, no lighted outdoor decorations, no Thanksgiving carols. All that is expected of us is to gather, sit, break bread and be grateful for the opportunity to do those things. Turkey-growers excepted, where’s the financial profit in that?
So, here it is, Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November. This will be a busy day. All across the country, people will take time out of their busy Christmas preparations to feast and say thanks. And then they’ll push away from the table and get back to work. Those gifts aren’t going to buy and wrap themselves.
Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer whose audio essays can be heard each week Spokane Public Radio. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org