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The Cold Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller

An innocent victim of creeping commercialism

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What did Thanksgiving do to anyone?

Unless, of course, you're a turkey.

Thanksgiving asks for virtually nothing.  There is no gifting. You don't have to decorate.  The only shopping is done at the grocery store, so you're not forced to hop from mall to mall or spend hours online coming up with ideas.   There aren't any painful holiday parties ramping up to it where you have to make small talk with people you only want to be with if you're being PAID.   There's no assembly required--no late nights spent putting together toys, appliances or other labor-intensive gifts.

Thanksgiving is the perfect American holiday: eat, drink, watch football, chat up the relatives, go home.

So why do we treat it so shabbily?

Much is said of the alleged "War On Christmas" but there is abso-freakin'-lutely no disputing that the battle is on against Thanksgiving, and the bad guys are winning in a rout.

I won't call out the individual offenders here and, quite frankly, it would be easier to rattle off the short, short list of places that WON'T be open at some point Thursday.   Seems ever corner of every mall will be open for business, from the biggest anchor to the tiniest pretzel stand.   There's probably a chuckle head somewhere who's already camped out in a shopping center parking lot hoping to save ten bucks on a flat screen TV, of which all of three will be available when the doors swing open, an event that creeps up sooner and sooner each season.   

First, it was Black Friday morning.  Next came midnight.  Now, we've got the green flag waving at eight p.m. Thanksgiving night, virtually blowing the holiday up. leaving Thanksgiving as nothing more than a day off before the heavy retail lifting begins.

It's sick and wrong.

I'm no Luddite, and I don't want to be the drooling old relative boring the kids to death with tales of how stores used to be closed on Sunday and how you did your shopping Saturday and, if you ran out of something it was tough crap until Monday morning.   Then again, there's something about the sanctity of the holiday--especially one as cool, as neat, as relaxing, as AMERICAN  as Thanksgiving.   And what's more American than free enterprise which allows businesses to chart their own courses, pick their own products, set their own prices, open/close at will?  It's not the stores' fault that the cash register is plugged in thanksgiving night, folks.

It's you.  If the shopping public stayed home, stores would remain shuttered.   The thrill of the big buy, the allure of the sale trample common sense, though, and a holiday gets forgotten in the process.   You lose your right to bitch if you're among the masses mauling the mall Thanksgiving night.

I'll be in bed that evening, sleeping off my triptifan with visions of morning radio dancing in my head.  Friday is just another work day for yours truly, so shopping isn't an option.  I'll check off my Christmas list the old fashioned way--on the 24th, thank you--and leave Black Friday to the rest.  I'll savor every last second of Thanksgiving the way it should be, with a full glass and a contented tummy.  

The war on Thanksgiving will rage on and I'll fight the battle the best way possible--on the couch, enjoying a meal well made amid family and pigskin.  I know it's a losing battle, but I'll die for a doomed cause with my boots on.

And a napkin tucked under my chin.

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