Thanks Giving Opportunities


By Deana Molinari PhD

Canada and the United States celebrate the remembrance of a special feast. Canada usually schedules the second Monday in October for Thanksgiving while their Southern neighbors choose the third Thursday in November. The day celebrates the harvest of 1621 when the Indians and refugee puritans held a celebration for enough food to stave off illness and starvation. The neighbors shared their bounty and cultures.

Traditionally, there are religious celebrations, family gatherings, and a feast of turkey with all its trimmings. The best part of the season in our house is the gratitude recitation. Each person shares appreciation for gifts from God and neighbors. The exercise usually begins on the dinner of the first day of the month. Each family member expresses thanks for a blessing no one else has mentioned. In the beginning the gifts are abstract like: Earth, home, family, food, and health.

As the month progresses, family members search deeper in their hearts for gratitude. Invariably, the gifts become more personal and meaningful. Life is full of singular experiences that make people feel rich, loved and blessed. So many individuals bless our lives. These recitations often incorporate trials and adversity like remembering family members no longer sitting at the feast or the experiences that come from poor health. A lost job unveils a multitude of good fortune. People usually leave the table feeling more satisfied.

One event this holiday is concerning. Thankfulness has been cut short by the anticipation of low prices. Instead of commemorating gratitude for all we have received, people spend the month listing what they will buy on Black Friday. Sport games with cousins are replaced with grabbing packages, and swiping credit cards. Songs and stories around the fireplace are swapped for fighting over parking spaces, and shoving in store aisles. The items purchased have little to do with gratitude and everything to do with consumerism.

Sure we hear bragging about the $70 dollars saved on a new coat, but little gratitude is expressed for the warmth of the coat. Usually the discussion continues with the purchase of luxury item with the coat savings. We rarely find people giving secretly to another some of their Thanksgiving bounty. There are still a few people who serve in the soup kitchen instead of queuing at the cash register.

Black Friday has become a commercial black plague. Stores advertise more than a month ahead of Friday. Sales continue weeks after the forgotten holiday. The day without work to celebrate gratitude has become a luxury shopping event.

The news does not feature small businesses reaching out to communities in gratitude for their support. Instead, headlines discuss how much is spent and violence used to purchase electronics.   Stories of entrepreneurs’ generosity rather than greed would be appreciated. Business owners have an opportunity to give back while receiving wealth. Friday is a chance to celebrate employees and improve lives. Let’s plan ways of improving our communities next year and list them in the news.

 Happy Thanks Giving!