Considering the turmoil in the world, I think it makes sense to focus a couple of these columns on Thanksgiving, and, more generally, being thankful.
It’s a cliché (and an internet meme) that “If you have clothes and a roof over your head and food to eat, you are doing better than many people in this world.”
It may be a cliché, but it’s true.
A quirk of the calendar has Thanksgiving and Christmas closer together this year than typical. Because of that, the retail industry is in a panic and is already rolling out specials and deals to convince us we need to shop.
Even releasing the statistic that the “average” person is going to spend more than $1,000 this year on Christmas is designed to make us feel like we are doing something wrong. “Am I a bad parent/child/friend if I only plan to spend $500?” – that’s the question they want you to ask.
Remember, with an average, if they include one person in the survey that plans to spend $10,000 on Christmas shopping, it seriously skews the numbers.
Another cliché/internet meme goes that Thanksgiving is the only day we spend being thankful for the things we have and then go out the next day to buy more stuff. Of course, Black Friday shopping isn’t quite the thing that it used to be. In less than a decade, it has slipped from the crack of dawn on Friday morning to online deals beginning Nov. 1.
The upside to that? We don’t see the inevitable video of people fighting to be the first in line at the big-box retailers to buy a cheap television. I’ll take that as a win and count it as something I am thankful for.
The Great Depression began 90 years ago (Oct. 29) and lasted for 10 years. Most of the people who remember those days have passed on now, but I remember hearing stories about people just struggling to survive and wondering where their next meal would come from.
I also vividly remember a couple periods in my adult life where money was extremely tight. I lost a lot of sleep worrying how I was going to meet my responsibilities. That has taught me to be a lot more cautious of wasting money.
On the other hand, I don’t believe in hoarding money, either. I believe it should be used to make memories, not buy things.
This just a long-winded way of reminding everyone that while you are running around buying supplies for Thanksgiving dinner and worrying if you have enough of “whatever” to be thankful for the family, things and opportunities, you have. That’s really what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about.