Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

In a Hurry To Be Generous

So, blogging has been light of late.  Here’s a brief update:

My wife and I bought a new house.  We sold our old house much faster than anticipated (my wife happens to be a very good Realtor).  That created a challenge:  we had to complete an extensive cosmetic renovation (new kitchen, baths, refinish floors, even move some walls) within 8 weeks.

We lucked out, and the buyer of our house gave us an extra two.

But even 10 weeks is just not enough time for everything to come together perfectly.  Through some unfortunate mistakes (one big one of our own doing), we moved in to our house without a complete kitchen.  We have a range, a refrigerator, and a microwave, but no counters or sink.

So we’re roughing it a bit.  It’s hectic, but our house will be awesome when it’s completed and furnished.

Anyway, Seth Godin asks a good question in his blog post yesterday; what if instead of being in a hurry to finish, you are in a hurry to be generous.

I experienced this twice during the week leading up to Thanksgiving.  First, I met a new neighbor out walking the dog.  We chatted, she asked how things were moving along with our unpacking, I told her we were without a full kitchen.

Without hesitation, she asked if we would like to join her family for Thanksgiving if we didn’t have somewhere to go.

Nice.  Neighborly.  Generous.

But this is someone who knows a little about me; knows I can afford to live in her neighborhood, knows what kind of car I drive.

The second example was far more meaningful to me.  I was checking out at Target on Tuesday, buying several quick easy frozen meals (mostly these, which are really good!)  The clerk at the register gave me and my purchase a look, and asked with uncertainty if I was ready for Thanksgiving.

I told her (briefly) that I was buying all this convenience food because we were in the midst of a renovation.

She asked me if I had plans for Thanksgiving dinner, because if I didn’t, she would bring me a plate.

The checker.  At Target.

She didn’t know anything about me.  But this sweet person offered to bring me food on Thanksgiving.

She was in a hurry to be generous.  I’m touched and I’m humbled by her.

But I also notice something.  Something about Target.

Think about that.




Take a Stand

Once known as a holiday to give thanks for family, friends, and the opportunities we share, Thanksgiving is the beginning of our six week long celebration of the end of one year and beginning of the next.

The beginning of the holiday shopping season.

Tomorrow is “Black Friday”, the busiest brick and mortar shopping day of the year.  Not that long ago, it was simply just a very busy shopping day, not fraught with sales and incentives.  (I always thought it would make more sense for retailers to intentionally spread out the holiday spending over a longer period, but what do I know?)

What it’s become bothers me, and I think it’s time to take a stand.  Those who know me know I’m all for people spending money on whatever they want, whenever they want.  While I may not share the populations desire for constant consumption, I am a big fan of getting the things I want and that make my life easier for a good price.

But the day after Thanksgiving blitz has gotten out of control.

I remember a time (and I’m not that old) when you had to make sure you got gas on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, because all the gas stations were closed.  20 years ago, I worked in one of the first McDonalds to open for breakfast on Thanksgiving – we opened from 6 to 11 and served breakfast.  We weren’t all that busy.

Today, McDonalds are open 24 hours.  Convenience stores and grocery stores have normal hours (which I think is more a demand issue, which is fine).  Beltway Fine Wine?  Open.  Wal-Mart is open 24 hours.

And tonight?  At midnight, Target, Toys R Us, HH Gregg, Macy’s, Ace Hardware, Kohls, and many, many more retailers will open their doors.

Old Navy is open today!  120 Best Buy locations will open at 9PM tonight.

What happened?  Do we really need to start shopping 10-12 hours earlier?  How many families jump up from Thanksgiving dinner and rush out to go shopping?

You know who can stop this?  We can.  Start a movement.  Don’t go shopping until tomorrow.  Better yet, don’t go shopping this weekend at all!  Make this weekend about something other than the sale, other than the price drop.  Retailers will listen and adjust.

Maybe I’m getting old, but my Thanksgiving remains about family and friends, about a large meal and lots of wine.  This year, it’s about Ravens football, too.  All with my wife, parents, siblings, aunt, cousins, nieces, and nephews.  Not with some crowd trying to save $40 on a big TV.  Time with my family is worth more to me.


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