Oh Thanksgiving, where’d you go?

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It happened already. Since Halloween really. Stores looked as though Christmas had invaded. Even a local radio station here in Chicago switched over to all-Xmas formatting a week after Halloween. Now with only 2 days left until Thanksgiving, I feel that I am already finished with Christmas. And that’s a shame.

Growing up I loved the Christmas season. It was the one time of year that magic seemed possible. Even after shedding my belief in Santa and many many years later losing my faith, I continued to see the magic of Christmas-time. But that magic has been eroding.

It seemed to have started with retail outlets pushing forward Christmas displays ahead of Black Friday. Then it got even earlier, completely overshadowing the existence of Thanksgiving to a point that I see more people waiting outside of Target and Walmart than are probably at their homes spending time with family. More companies got on board too, all claiming to be just getting in the spirit of the holidays while secretly aiming to get earlier access to our wallets. Getting those 4th quarter sales in have become the only goal. All in the spirit of Christmas, right? What happened to family? I remember a time in the not too distant past where my Christmas Eve holiday was replaced with having to work to manufacture goods for stores running the risk of going out of stock on our products. While some might see that business as a sign of prosperity, I regard that success as a pyrrhic victory. At what cost was that success?

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We get so caught up in the idea of the season that we don’t see what’s been taking over. Greed, commercialism, materialism, they all sit behind this idea of giving. Giving is a great thing, sure. It’s the meaning behind it that is most important, although others would have you believe otherwise, after all, their year-end bonuses depend on you thinking that the only way your kid will love you is if you get them something valuable.

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As I was younger, I agreed. Toys were what I wanted, and the more expensive, the better. What kid doesn’t think that way. But we weren’t broken by what we didn’t get. In fact, I seldom remember what I even got for most Christmases. Memories were more important, so that is what I have. They fulfill me far more than any object has. Memories don’t boost profit though. And we as a society are starting to lose the knowledge of how to build memories. But don’t worry. I hear the new iPhone will take good videos of whatever that memory thing is. Make sure you get one for each person on your list.

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