Nobody Needs to Shop on Thanksgiving Day

Ed. note: A group of us bloggers feel strongly about the demise of Thanksgiving Day’s tradition of being a holiday without stores being open. Thus, we are staging our own boycott of shopping on that Thursday. Any who would like to join the cause are welcome and encouraged to post their opinions at their blog home, as well as to visit our Facebook page and pledge NOT to shop on Thanksgiving Day. Thank you.

Last month I was making a purchase at Kohl’s when the checker informed me they were opening on Thanksgiving Day this year.

What? I demanded. You’re kidding.

No, she said with a wistful voice. I have to leave my family and come to work.

There’s something radically wrong with that picture, folks.

Nobody needs to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Don't shop on Thanksgiving Day!

Don’t shop on Thanksgiving Day!

I run my own business, and I understand as well as the next person how tough staying in business is.

How hard one has to work to get clients — and keep them happy.

How trying the economy has been of late.

But nobody needs to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

If I want to do a bit of work on a holiday, I’m only inconveniencing myself.

Demanding that others show up on what has traditionally been a day of thanks, a day for feasting with family and friends, for giving to those less fortunate — well, that’s just wrong.

And nobody needs to shop on Thanksgiving Day.

Retailers tried this nonsense back in Roosevelt’s day (that’s FDR). When Thanksgiving fell on the 30th of the month, store owners argued people needed more than 24 days to get their Christmas shopping done. FDR caved and moved what traditionally was held on the last Thursday in November up one week.

Confusion ensued. Some states celebrated on the early Thursday; others held onto the traditional Thursday. And two celebrated on both days!

Did it work? Interestingly enough, no. So Congress came along and officially returned Thanksgiving Day to the fourth Thursday in November, no matter which date it falls on.

Whether you celebrate the religious and grateful aspects of Thanksgiving, or the family/food/football aspects, this holiday has been a cherished tradition since Colonial times.

And while, for some of us, there’s far too much “spending frenzy” going on in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I have to remind you: there are weeks leading up to Christmas.

Not days.

So nobody needs to shop on Thanksgiving Day!

39 thoughts on “Nobody Needs to Shop on Thanksgiving Day

  1. I can’t imagine shopping on Thanksgiving Day, but so many do it. I suppose it’s not a holiday to some or perhaps they are far away from their families. I know many people who make a big deal of shopping on black Friday…I wouldn’t dare step out in a mall on that day; then again, I’m quite happy to shop from my computer and avoid stores at all cost!

    • I love to shop, Suzi, and I love a bargain as much as the next person. BUT, no way will I be shopping on Thanksgiving Day! Something should be “sacred,” and what better than a day set aside for giving thanks? And you know, as someone who’s spent many a Thanksgiving away from family, shopping would feel like a poor substitute.

  2. TOTALLY agree with you, Debbie!

    In fact, the store I work changed their opening hours on Black Friday from midnight to 8 PM on Thanksgiving night! And thank god I don’t work for the store (I’m a vendor) and was given the choice of whether I WANTED to work at 8 PM or not. And I definitely chose NOT to work.

    What retailers are failing to realize is that instead of bringing more business in, opening that early, they’re pushing business away because MANY people are outraged at this.

    GREAT post, dear lady! And thank you for posting it!


    • “What retailers are failing to realize is that instead of bringing more business in, opening that early, they’re pushing business away because MANY people are outraged at this.”

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, dear Ron! Not only shoppers, but also employees are furious with this greed. And that’s all it is anyway, isn’t it? Greed. Shame on them! What better time of year to be GRATEFUL than the holidays?!

      Thanks for dropping by and supporting the cause1

  3. What a fabulous post!!! Thank YOU for taking a stand with us and writing such a wonderful post. I love the Ed. Note at the top—-I had not thought of doing it that way and it is a perfect way to introduce the whole idea!! Thanks for your part! Sharing!

    • Hi Beth Ann, and welcome! Thank you for helping get the word out. I don’t know whether we can make a dent, but we can’t unless we try. It practically broke my heart when I looked into that store clerk’s face and saw the wistfulness there. And she wasn’t a young woman, either.

        • Absolutely! I told Katybeth my Editor’s Note and Cole’s graphic are both free for the lifting (I hope I wasn’t speaking too soon for Cole, but I imagine his mom will reward him accordingly for his effort!)

  4. Debbie, what a wonderful post. I love your common sense approach and had no idea about the historical nonsense! We do need to look at what is at stake, the bigger picture, and celebrate Thanksgiving as a day to reflect on what we have, not what what we want. Strongly put, the idea of parents taking their kids to holiday shop at any retail store on Thanksgiving day makes my stomach turn.

    • You know, Katybeth, once upon a time (so I’m told) stores didn’t even open on Sundays. And they didn’t keep this 24/7 schedule of operation either. Somehow, folks back then managed to get their shopping done. And we, with all our smart phones and tech devices theoretically should be much more organized than they were!

      Ewww, shopping with kids on Thanksgiving Day?? No way — what a horrid example they’re offering these impressionable minds.

      I appreciate your agreeing with me!

    • Thanks, Barb. The more people we can get on board with this, the better! They’re driven by money and trying to drive us by fear. Fear the shelves will be bare and we won’t have Christmas. Guess they haven’t heard of online shopping, ha!

  5. Blogs are fine and facebook postings are fine, but why not do what I’ve done – stop by your local stores that are staying open, ask to speak with the manager and tell him or her that you won’t be shopping, and why. If they see a slight downtick in business, they could interpret it as a sign of the bad economy or really good football. If a live person shows up and says, “Here’s the way it is”, they’ll know for sure.

    • Ooh, Linda, what a good idea! The personal touch — I like that. That way, they can put a face to the reasoning and see how real people feel. Way to go! Yes, I suppose they could chalk a shortage of business up to people being out of town or whatever. Your way, they’d know. Thanks for the suggestion.

  6. Thank you for making the case against shopping on Thanksgiving Day. It’s robbing us of precious family time. We don’t get together often enough so when we do, that’s what we should be focusing on, not some dumb sale. Let’s remember what Thanksgiving is about. Let’s honor our traditions–and leave shopping for another day! Thanks again, Debbie. Look for my two cents early next week. Hugs!

    • I’m glad you’re going to join the cause, Monica. The more, the merrier! You’re so right — most families don’t have enough quality time together as it is. To mar that special holiday time with the lure of scoring BIG on some item at the store is wrong on so many levels. Honestly, don’t people realize most “sales” are going on all the time as it is??

  7. I agree that shopping on Thanksgiving isn’t necessary. I won’t be shopping, but I don’t have a strong feeling against stores being open. Maybe it’s because in college, I waitressed, and I worked every Thanksgiving and Christmas (voluntarily) because of the extra money. I still had time with my family, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. My husband’s work pays time-and-a-half, so if Thursday wasn’t his normal day off, he’d be working and we’d have our family time after work.

    • As a former journalist, I worked many a holiday, Janna (no time-and-a-half, tho, ha!). I certainly understand the economics of wanting to grab as many extra hours as possible and add to one’s bank account. What I don’t get are stores who insist employees come in (for no extra pay), leave their home and families on what should be a special day, and demand the rest of us do the same. Especially when it’s not like we don’t have plenty of time to get our shopping done, or when they don’t already have sales before and after the holidays. Thanks for dropping by and offering your thoughts!

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    • Some of us still like to “touch and roll,” you know! Feeling the material, digging for a different color or size — all part of the fun, Isaac. Guess it’s a “girl-thing”?! But you’re right — the stores DON’T need to be open on holidays.

  9. I love that you have a Facebook page devoted to the tragedy of people shopping on Thanksgiving. I feel so bad for the employees forced into working on a day that should be spent with family.

    I shared your post on my site through Zemanta when I wrote a post about the subject. You can see it here.

    I hope that Thanksgiving shopping bombs and the whole idea goes away!

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  12. I can’t imagine shopping on Thanksgiving, but then I am living in a land where mealtime is sacred every day and shops are closed Sundays and most evenings by 6 pm at the latest.

    • Pat, you’re indeed blessed! Keeping mealtime and Sundays sacred is the BEST way to live, I believe. The notion of commerce going on practically 24/7/365 is ridiculous — nobody needs to be that driven. And with cell phones and computers everywhere, we no longer have any excuse NOT to be working. Sigh.

  13. Debbie, I’ve been boycotting Black Friday for years so I I don’t have any problem jumping on the “don’t shop on Thanksgiving ” bandwagon. Let’s get away from materialism and celebrate the things in life that really matter- family, home and gratitude for our many blessings. I feel badly for the employees who are forced to leave their families to work on what as always been sacred day with family and friends. Thanks for raising our consciousness about this.

    • Thanks, Kathy, for joining the cause. I don’t know whether we can effect any change this year, but we’ll never know if we don’t try. As someone who often had to work on holidays, I fully understand that not everyone can take the day off; however, there’s no reason to buy into the Christmas-grab this early. And honestly, is one more shopping day really going to amount to a hill of beans??

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