I was almost expecting it when the KMarts and Walmarts of the world announced their stores would be open this year on Thanksgiving night. Sigh. It seemed to reflect that good ol’ American over-the-top holiday consumerism which seems to creep up on us closer and closer to Labor Day every year.
But again, that’s the big boxes, the new stores on the block; the ones who HAVE to pull a stunt.
Now comes word that the department store synonymous with Thanksgiving and Christmas, indeed the legendary setting of the classic movie, “Miracle On 34th Street” is stepping into the fray…Macy’s is opening on Thanksgiving. Macy’s? Seriously? Is NOTHING sacred? Apologies for the cliché question, but I have an answer: No.
In America, nothing is sacred anymore.
It’s the “Broken Windows” theory of crime in the context of our culture, our values: if petty vandalism goes unchecked, not only does more vandalism occur, but an environment is created leading to more violent crimes which occur more frequently. Eventually society ends up an epidemic of crime and the commensurate breakdown in the quality of life.
In the case of stores opening on Thanksgiving, remember when there was ONE place in town open for a few hours on Thanksgiving morning where you could grab an emergency carton of milk?
Remember, how even that little store would be closed by 11am?
Remember how the ride to grandma’s felt like a post-apocalyptic journey through a ghost town?
Remember when someone told you that the big drugstore chain down the road was open til 3 on Thanksgiving?
Remember when the supermarket stuck with its normal hours?
Now we’re supposed to cheer when Macy’s opens on our formally sacred day of gratitude?
And what of the EMPLOYEES? What of our dear fellow Americans who are being plucked from the cozy confines of their homes on a holiday? The concept of working on Thanksgiving used to be nonsensical. EVERYBODY is supposed to be off on Thanksgiving!
Mr. Macy meet Mr. Scrooge (different holiday same story).
This very well could be the beginning of the end of a beautiful day of reflection; a gathering of loved ones in a common moment of gratitude.
If we are not vigilant, the gathering, the meal, the fellowship could very well give way to a quick toast around the table and turkey sandwiches.
Now, here’s what I want you to do. Take a stand for tradition this Thanksgiving.
Don’t go shopping. Stay where you are when the meal is over and do what you’re SUPPOSED to do: Linger in the kitchen, pick at the pies, do the dishes, listen to the older ladies complain about their husbands, settle in front of the television with your cousins and reflect about holidays gone by.
Perhaps you’ll be blessed to enjoy the greatest Thanksgiving tradition of all…falling asleep on the couch to the dulcet sound of family and friends laughing in the background.
I know that sounds cheesey, but it’s not nearly as cheesey as the notion of leaving your family to go shopping on Thanksgiving.
T.J. McCormack is a comedian and commentator. He is host of "Good Morning Westchester" on WVOX 1460AM in New Rochelle, N.Y.