Menifee Mom: Let's Not Rush Through Thanksgiving

By Karen Thomas

I read a comic last week depicting a family gathered around the dinner table at Thanksgiving. Immediately after expressing thanks for their blessings, the kids exclaimed, "OK, now let me tell you what I want for Christmas!"

This is an all too familiar scene at my house and I’m sure many others. One would think that having a holiday where we pause and express gratitude for all the many things we have would help lessen the "wants" at Christmastime. I have tried really hard to separate the two holidays, but it seems to get harder every year.

Part of the problem is the black Friday Christmas shopping madness so many of us experience. I have often gotten a good chunk of my shopping done the weekend after Thanksgiving, when sometimes great deals can be found. Because of that, I have caught myself asking my kids for their Christmas wishes during Thanksgiving. I always hate doing that because it does feel like I am taking away from the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday.

To make matters worse, this year Thanksgiving is just four weeks before Christmas, making moms feel an even bigger crunch to get the shopping done.

This year, retailers seem to be taking advantage of our vulnerability to sales and pressed timelines and have started the sales even earlier: During our Thanksgiving dinner! But, when there is a budget to keep and great deals to be had, it’s hard not to join in. I’ve definitely snagged some great deals online during Thanksgiving.

However, I wonder what effect this has on our kids. Does it even further erode our ability to pause and feel thankful for all that we have? Sure, some people have more than others, but for the most part we all have so much more than so many around the world. If we all could just take time to really remember and appreciate that, then perhaps even Christmas will have more meaning for our families.

So this year, I’ve really tried to avoid putting out the Christmas decorations early and push the wish lists too much. Yes, we’ve had some discussion about it (a mom has to plan!), but not as much as in the past. I’m sure I’ll still be online a bit hunting out bargains, but I refuse to hit the stores or let shopping consume me during this most important holiday.

Will it make a difference for my family? Maybe not, but at least my kids will know that Thanksgiving is important and not just a rest stop on our way to Christmas.

Karen Thomas is a stay at home mom of four daughters, has been on the PTA board at her kids' school for four years, and is a volunteer at her church, in addition to her activities as a volunteer soccer referee, a piano teacher, and a runner. Her column will appear here every Thursday. Comments are welcome.


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