Thanksgiving Consumerism

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

November 22, 2007


Categories: The Balancing Act

Remember a few years ago, when the woman was crushed by a horde of people wanting a discounted DVD player (CNN Archive)? One store opens at 6am, then the next opens at 5am, then 4am. But, that’s not enough, now Kmart will be open on Thanksgiving Day (ABC News)! Thanksgiving really has become the forgotten holiday. It’s a gateway drug to shopping mania. People will crowd these stores; maybe trample another just like them, to get great deals on stuff that no one really needs. How did we get this far, and will it ever end?

When I was in Eighth grade, we had to do speeches for my English class. I did mine on my family, a mixed family of Steps. Most of the speeches were like mine, mundane. But, one girl, Carin Skivington, did her speech on Thanksgiving, labeling it the forgotten holiday. I’m not sure who coined the term, but at 14 years old, her insight is magnificent. Thanksgiving has become the forgotten holiday, and now Halloween barely gets a nod. We line up the year beginning with New Year’s and resolutions, coast into Easter where it’s all about candy, followed up by Memorial Day. Clearly, some do what is expected of Memorial Day and remember those lives lost in war, but who remembers that day was started to remember the lives lost in the Civil War? Skip over the parent remembrances and celebrate the 4th of July. How do we celebrate it? Cooking out and watching fireworks, chemicals exploding in the air. Sing a few rounds of the Star Spangled Banner toasted in with a few beers, and then go to bed. Do we remember the struggle it was to put this country into place? Do we remember the bloodshed, the lives lost, and the struggle to get people to agree? Do we remember that without the Bill of Rights, we would not be here today like this? No, we don’t. We’re more interested in the day off the holiday gives us, instead of remember the people who even gave us the holidays with Labor Day.

History classes in school teach people how to be brainwashed citizens, it doesn’t teach kids about the importance of why we have these holidays. It doesn’t teach people why it’s important to remember what others have done for us so we can stand on the shoulders of giants. We stress over these holidays, to eat too much food, and get crap from those we care about, stuff that we don’t care about. What would it take for us to get back to basics? What would it take for us to remember what these holidays are all about?

Holiday is a derivative of Holy Day, stemming from religions, specifically Christianity, and then Catholicism. All Saint’s day is preceded by Halloween. Christmas, Easter, All Saint’s day mark season changes. I don’t think it is a coincidence that we have these holidays connected with climate. Astrology points to a changing era, from the Age of Aquarius, soon we will enter the Age of Pisces. Pisces is the last sign on the astrological wheel, the old soul, the philosopher. The Mayan calendar is rumored to end in 2012. Perhaps this year will mark the change when we go from being a me-society to a more human centered society. Perhaps we will finally remember to remember. We will see that history has its place, and it’s place is to be told. Skip the master narrative and remember the mistakes we made. It’s not about things, as the old saying goes, you can’t take it with you when you die. And, if you can’t take it with you when you die, what good is it here on earth?

Hopefully we, collectively, can see that we need these changes now, instead of 5 years from now.


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