It’s Nov. 1, which in the retail world means it’s Christmastime.
Visit any mega mart today, and you’ll find the Halloween costumes and candy have vanished like ghosts. In their place lie toys, wreaths and everything else you might need this Christmas, except for a second mortgage to afford gifts. Out with trick-or-treating, in with season’s greetings.
What gets lost in between? Oh yeah, Thanksgiving. We still celebrate that, right?
To major retailers, Thanksgiving is an inconvenience. It’s an unmarketable holiday that briefly shifts the public’s attention from year-end commercial chaos. It is, like the Halloween revelers you stepped over outside the taverns this morning, something of a speed bump.
If you look hard enough, you might find a set of Pilgrim salt-and-pepper shakers next to Steve Bannon masks on the Halloween clearance shelf. (Talk about creepy!) But turkey day gets shoved aside by Christmas, which started out as a heartwarming nod to the kings who brought gifts to a special baby, but now results in frantic shoppers cracking each other over the head for the last iPhone 8. Peace on Earth, indeed.
Sadly for this underrated holiday, there isn’t much cha-ching in Thanksgiving, unless you’re Butterball. Or the company that makes the pills that allow your lactose-intolerant Uncle Milt to eat cheesecake without clearing the dining room.
It’s not like consumers need the Christmas shopping season to start any earlier. At five weeks it’s already longer than the tenure of the average presidential press secretary. It’s also four weeks and six days more than any man needs. What lady doesn’t appreciate the best duct tape and Odor-Eaters that Farm & Fleet can offer?
Maybe it’s because I’m a guy — the gender that brought you no-iron dress shirts and leaf blowers — that I believe simple holidays are best. I like the ones that don’t involve heaping helpings of debt, travel or guilt.
Take New Year’s Eve, for example. You share dinner with friends, enjoy a drink or seven and ring in the year to come. One day, a hundred bucks, just make sure you have some clean dress pants to wear when going out and you’re good.
July Fourth is another great one. Attend the parade, light the barbecue and watch the fireworks. Just apply some sunscreen and make sure you don’t blow off any appendages, and you’re good.
And then there’s Thanksgiving. You whip up a cheesecake — wouldn’t want to disappoint Uncle Milt — share a great meal, and head home fat and happy. Afterward you won’t receive calls from your bank about outspending your credit limit.
There is beauty in simplicity, and grace in gratitude. Ever since the Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered to break bread and give thanks for the harvest, there has been a quiet, uplifting charm to the holiday.
So let’s not blow right past it on our way to fa la la la lunacy. Let’s take these holidays one at a time. What’s the rush? You just can’t wait to get stitches in urgent care after an iPhone melee?
Set out your horn of plenty and your new Pilgrim salt-and-pepper shakers. Give Thanksgiving its due. Enjoy a time of year that comes with no worries. That is, unless Uncle Milt has forgotten his pills, but is nevertheless helping himself to another slice of cheesecake.