A few days ago my friend Ben Johnson (profile name: Ben Jay) started a group on Facebook called “Advertise Thanksgiving”. I would link you to it, but I don’t know how to link to a Facebook group.
Here are a few lines from his description of it:
in my opinion, gratitude is one of the things we (as a society) need most. all of us.
we take so much of what we have for granted. everyday. and we don’t even realize it. religious or nonreligious. (myself, included).
it’s time to make a change.
everyone recognizes how ridiculous it is that christmas sales start so soon. …so let’s start doing something about it. people CAN make a change. not just at christmas season, but every season.
Of course it’s nothing new to get out there and talk about how much we take for granted, and how we should be more thankful, but humor me for a second here:
Do you suppose there’s a reason why retailers downplay Thanksgiving? Unless you’re a grocery store, you don’t have a lot to gain from the holiday itself. But you do have a lot to lose.
What would happen to Christmas (Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc…) if people really celebrated Thanksgiving? I mean really… like going beyond the turkeys and stuffing and cranberry sauce and football games and cornucopias and little pilgrim candles and falling asleep in the recliner. What if people stopped what they’re doing and said “Wow, we really have everything we need”? “In fact, we have far more than we need! If somebody told us that we need something we don’t have, we would laugh heartily and fill up another trunkfull to haul over to the Goodwill.
America… we are stuff-saturated! It brings to mind an episode of The Office where the boss, Michael Scott, gets a second job because he’s so deeply in debt. When he finally concedes to debt counseling, the counselor looks over his finances, and gives him the skinny. He says (and I paraphrase,) “Michael, I’ve put all your expenditures into three columns. This first column is for needs. The second column is for wants. And the third column is for the things you’ve bought that no one… anywhere… could ever need… or want… ever.”
If it wasn’t so bad for the environment, I would suggest we pile up all these things that no one could ever really need and have a spectacular bonfire. Why give things to charity that are just going to needlessly clutter someone else’s life?
So maybe Thanksgiving should be a time to simplify. Because what better way is there to express gratefulness for having all you need, then by giving those things a little elbow room?
And when the Christmas commercials begin assault your simplified senses, you can laugh heartily, and take another heaping, thankful bite from your tukey, stuffing and cranberry sauce sandwich.