A Doug's Life: A Time for Thanks

In November of 1621, a group of Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered for a three-day "autumn feast" to celebrate the colonists' first harvest of crops.

In 1863, after more than two centuries of "thanksgiving" observances on various dates at the state and local levels, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the final Thursday of November as a national Thanksgiving holiday.

Sometime in the 1970s, the day after Thanksgiving was designated Black Friday, recognizing the extreme efforts retailers were making to cash in on Christmas shopping mere hours after the last turkey plate was scraped clean.

And every year since then, the beginning of Christmas season has crept closer to Halloween.

Thanksgiving, it seems, is becoming the forgotten holiday.

When I was a kid, my mother refused to recognize the Christmas season until the day after Thanksgiving. None of the Christmas record albums -- including my favorite, an "Alvin and the Chipmunks" album on red vinyl -- were placed on the turntable of the stereo console. The flocked Christmas tree with the red bulbs and the color wheel spotlight was still at least two weeks away.

And Christmas shopping? Well, the lists were made, but no gifts had been purchased. And there certainly was no Thanksgiving night strategy session to discuss Black Friday survival techniques -- because there was no Black Friday.

Nope, we spent Thanksgiving night doing the things we were most thankful for. Mostly, that was spending time with the family.

What a novel concept.

I still look forward to Thanksgiving. We still gather around the dinner table, spend most of the day together and take at least a few minutes to discuss what we're thankful for. But there is that planning session to determine which store sales to hit at 6 a.m., or 4 a.m., or midnight, or -- gulp -- 10 p.m. that very evening.

For some family members, it's hard to resist because of the marketing efforts of retailers. How can one not be tempted to camp outside a store front for two days if it guarantees you a bargain on the latest Wii game or a Dora the Explorer kitchen?

Thanksgiving is easily forgotten when the witches' hats and skeleton costumes are replaced on the store shelves by twinkle lights and stuffed Santas. It's almost like November doesn't exist. Would it be so bad if we had four weeks of normalcy between "Trick or Treat" and "Jingle Bells"?

Now I'm not so naive as to think things will change. I know some of the Christmas gifts have already been bought, and a whole lot more will be purchased on a very hectic Friday.

But in the meantime, just let me have my Thanksgiving, with some time to relax and remember the reasons I have to give thanks.

Happy holidays, everyone. You'll notice that's "holidays" with an "S".

Yes, there really is more than one. Please don't let the other be forgotten.


  1. I dont think thanksgiving is forgotten at all, as a matter of fact, I think some people like it more than christmas,, and its the busiest travel day of the year which means more families are getting together on this special day. as for the shopping , well its just a fun thing to do,,,,