Happy Hanukkah! Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksgivvukah! Happy Holidays!
The balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade went forward after all. They didn’t fly as high since the winds were a concern, but at least they weren’t grounded. That would have disappointed a lot of people.
The trend of starting the shopping mess on Thanksgiving Thursday continues. Over at Slate, Matthew Iglesias ponders the question and whether it really matters as a social justice issue: is it fair to make some people work on Thanksgiving? He compares it to the being open on Christmas situation. He concludes:
Which is just to say that in a diverse nation with more than 300 million citizens, opinions are going to vary on the pros and cons of extended business hours. How strapped for cash are you? Where does your family live? What’s your relationship with them like? How sentimental are you about specific holiday rituals? People will differ. This Thanksgiving there are going to be people with jobs at the Gap who wish they weren’t working Thanksgiving but feel that they’d lose their jobs if they weren’t willing to take an extra shift. There are also going to be people with jobs at Radio Shack who wish they could earn some extra cash and get out from under that credit card debt. I’m not persuaded that there’s a first-order question of social justice here one way or the other.
I get that there are people who are willing to work on Thanksgiving or Christmas. And, Christmas, in my mind, is more of a religious holiday, even if a lot of secular folk and the American government have taken advantage of it. If you want to be open and/or work on Christmas, go ahead. There are a lot of non-Christians who need servicing. I won’t judge.
But, Thanksgiving – notwithstanding its complicated history (much like anything and everything else in this country) – is a uniquely American holiday and unites everyone, because it’s not about race, gender, national origin, religion, lack of religion, or whatever. It’s about being American and being grateful. Maybe Thanksgiving is more than grouching about whether you’re working or not and shopping demonstrates greed/lack of greed/save capitalism and the free market/economy and how much free will is involved when someone chooses to work/open the business on a holiday… the debating is endless.
I feel like it comes down to our national values and our culture. Do businesses have to be open on Thanksgiving – for just one day? Are businesses just about money? Do corporations – assuming they’re people too, as former Gov. Mitt Romney said and legally, they are – have one core value? Do they have one element of patriotism? Just pick one day where you don’t cross a line and say why. And, can’t we as Americans have one nice thing to agree on?
The lines are blurred. All the crazy arguing – this is why we can’t have nice things. (insert sarcasm there, in case you didn’t catch the sarcasm).
Anyway, don’t overeat and watch too much football. Just take a moment and say thanks for all the good stuff out there.
I liked listening to this over at NPR’s Fresh Air: host Terry Gross having Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop of “America’s Test Kitchen” make Thanksgiving cooking tips. Alton Brown was over at NPR’s All Things Considered, with very sensible tips on cooking the turkey (including the tip on not cooking the stuffing in the turkey, to avoid food poisoning). And, Science Friday on NPR had the “How to Avoid ‘Food Failures’ This Thanksgiving” with Jeff Potter of “Cooking with Geeks.”