Is Thanksgiving Shopping Ok?

Have you heard the uproar about stores being open on Thanksgiving? This time of year, it’s the shot heard ’round the world. And so, because there is never enough chatter on controversial subjects, I figured I should chime in. I mean, why not?

Here’s the deal. People are going to Christmas shop in November. People are going to Christmas shop in June and July too. There really isn’t a way around it. From what I’m seeing on Facebook it’s all the smart mamas who are shopping now so they can enjoy a calm(er) Christmas season once December hits. On top of that, everyone is posting about how guilty they feel about drinking eggnog and listening to Christmas music. Guilty because … well, obviously if you drink eggnog in November you’re not a thankful person. And if you utter “Santa Baby” you’re super ungrateful.

But really? That just ain’t true. I am SO thankful for eggnog. And my family. And the fall leaves. And that we have food for our Thanksgiving table and every other time we need to eat. Celebrating Christmas and being thankful flow pretty seamlessly to me. One evokes the other and together they make for a grand season of family, fun, and food :)

So, the big question. Should stores be open on Thanksgiving to honor the day of thanks? 

And I say, “Why not?”

It all comes down to choice. And I harp on that a lot. YOU get to choose if you go out shopping. What the stores do, shouldn’t really influence how you choose to spend your time. Plus, the majority of stores are offering the same promotions online, so truly, you can eat your turkey, settle onto the couch for a nap and get your Christmas shopping done without ever leaving the family zone. Regina Brett said it best … “If no one shopped on Thanksgiving Day, the stores wouldn’t open. End of story.”

Somewhere along the lines though, Target said to Walmart, “If we open, they will come!” And society, you and me, have proved them to be correct. Is it wrong? Should you feel guilty for enjoying your turkey and then hitting the shopping centers? No, probably not. There are much bigger fish to fry in the world. Right?

But, what about all the employees? Shouldn’t we boycott this Thanksgiving shopping for them? I for one have had a season in life where working on holidays was the jam. Time and a half? Double time? We fought for those shifts because who doesn’t want to increase their pay during the holidays. And, it just takes a little planning ahead. No one is working 24 hours shifts. If you work the morning, you can easily have a Thanksgiving dinner. Or vice versa. I get that it’s not ideal, but someone is always working on the holidays. Firemen? Doctors? Airline folks. They’re on call and working on Thanksgiving. Why aren’t we demanding they get the day off too?

Another thought … who really celebrates Thanksgiving ON Thanksgiving? Most holidays we can’t make it to both sides of our family in one day so we end up celebrating on one day and then choosing a stand in day for a second family gathering. Are we the only ones? For us, it’s much less about the official day and more about the intentionality of setting aside time to be together. THAT’S what the holidays are about. Days are just days. We’re striving for a daily vibe of thankfulness and frequent family gatherings around here.

But shopping isn’t a necessity! It’s just propagating consumerism! Thanksgiving should stay that national holiday where everything is closed! And yes – that’s mostly all true. But, it’s also a really big part of keeping our economy running. Moving dollars in the marketplace is important and shopping, regardless of the day, makes that happen. Again, you get to choose – decide when you want to shop, set a budget, know your limits, and shop accordingly. And for me, someone who enjoys shopping, I love going out with my mom or sisters. It’s fun bonding for us. And Dominic doesn’t complain about being left at home with a load of dishes and a sports game or two :)

Last January Dominic and I evaluated our December spending and came up with a monthly savings plan to fund this Christmas. From our tree to gifts to various causes we like to support (like this and this) we created a budget, totaled it and divided by 12. The number we came up with was $75/month. So, each month we siphoned off $75 from our income and marked it “Christmas”. This month we withdrew it from the bank and now have our designated Christmas fund. It works really well for us and whether we choose to spend it in early November or on Thanksgiving or throughout December, what really matters is that we made the decision how we would spend our holiday and how we would spend our money long before Target decided what time they would open on Thanksgiving Day. 

Because, as much as I hate to say it, just because Target it open, it doesn’t mean I have to be there :)

So there, my friends … my Wednesday ramblings on Thanksgiving shopping hours. Honestly, I could swing either way, both sides of this “controversy” have valid points. What are your thoughts?

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