By Amelia Kibbe
Although the date of Christmas has never changed in its centuries-long history, Americans begin buying gifts earlier each year. This causes holidays such as Thanksgiving to take a backseat. The commercialism of Christmas needs to stop overpowering the importance of Thanksgiving.
Two days before Halloween, I went to Walmart with my sister to pick up a few, last-minute costume pieces. It turned into a much longer trip than I had expected because we had to weave our way through dozens of employees who were tearing down the Halloween sales and stocking the shelves with Christmas tree ornaments and stockings. In October.
Last weekend, I shopped with my parents for winter attire because I had chosen to ignore that winter does indeed come to Western New York in November. In almost every store, the radio played songs like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Thanksgiving is still almost a week away and there is more than a month to go until Christmas. But this does not stop commercial America.
In fact, according to an article in the Huffington Post, more than 15 chain companies will open their doors on Thursday for the annual Black Friday event. Essentially, Black Friday is now a Thursday.
If people are out on Thursday buying things shopping for a holiday that’s a month away, they can’t be at home spending time with their families over a Thanksgiving meal.
No material gift (even if it’s 75 percent off) can make up for time spent with moms, dads, cousins and grandparents.
And of course, there are the poor employees who are stuck at the registers scanning item after item for overtired, grouchy shoppers who have one foot out the door and into the next store. These workers are forced to spend the day that’s synonymous with family making little money in a packed store.
Many store officials argue that not opening their doors until 5 p.m. (J. C. Penny, Toys R Us, Best Buy) or 6 p.m. (Walmart, Staples, Kohl’s) gives shoppers some time at home with their families before heading out on the hunt.
However, the earlier the stores open their doors, the earlier shoppers will leave home to wait in line, thus forfeiting any time for a leisurely dinner with relatives they haven’t seen all year. Earlier hours also means employees have to get there even earlier to prepare.
K-Mart can’t even make this weak argument. This year, the store will open its doors at 6 a.m. Thursday and remain open for over 42 hours. According to a company spokesperson, the on-duty employees volunteered to work the holiday and will be given a holiday pay increase. But no amount of money can recreate the family atmosphere and wholesome food of Thanksgiving.
All the commercial craziness at Christmas time not only overshadows other holidays, but it also loses the true religious and family meanings of Christmas.
Of course, there are many Americans who do still believe in the importance of Thanksgiving. In 2013, a Facebook page named “I won’t shop on Thanksgiving” was created. Members of this community pledge to avoid the stores until the last dishes have been put away from the meal.
Thanksgiving is swallowed by commercial Christmas preparations. Not only does this need to be fixed, but also the madness needs to be curbed before Halloween disappears as well and the religious and family-oriented meanings of Christmas.
Americans need to take a stand and refuse to let commercial Christmas take over, preferably before shoppers begin buying back-to-school clothes and candy canes at the same time.
Amelia Kibbe is the features editor of The Bona Venture. Her email is email@example.com