Speer: Let’s get back to a real Thanksgiving

Call me old fashioned if you like, but I believe Thanksgiving should be a time for family, reflection and tradition. It should be a day of remembering all the good that has come your way in the past year, delicious food, parades – and of course Lions football.

When I think of Thanksgiving I can smell the aroma of spices from pumpkin pies baking in the over, can imagine the taste of turkey and cranberries and anticipate the smile after the first bite of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy.

Even if families fail the other 364 days of the year to sit down together over a meal, Thanksgiving has been at least that one day where everyone can gather around for a while and enjoy the preparation together.

Yes, I envision a Norman Rockwell setting.

To my thinking Thanksgiving should be cherished as a family day of peace and reflection. I know, tell that to the person who has slaved all day in the kitchen. Or peace – have you actually watched a Lions game this year? What peace!

I understand. I empathize. I will pitch in and help in whatever way possible, as will others in an effort to “share the load” among us all.

In the end, is it too much to ask that one day of the year we set aside life’s normal pursuits and routines and instead, stop and smell those proverbial “roses?”

Apparently it is.

At least that appears to be the case as this year more and more merchants are looking to open for business on Thanksgiving.

To me, that is disappointing. Retailers are placing profits ahead of employee productivity, sales figures ahead of families.

Opening early for Black Friday was one thing. Shoppers chose to start their day early Friday mornings. There was a certain anticipation in the air and everyone knew stores would be crowded Friday.

Not so anymore with many stores opening Thanksgiving – in some instances even before the evening meal is completed on the holiday.

Personally, I will balk at the premise. I would urge you to do the same. I realize I am but a single blade of grass blowing in the wind with my personal protest, but the voice of reason has to begin somewhere. If the public boycotts these holiday openings, retailers will quickly hear the message and revamp their thinking for next year.

Honestly, what difference is it really going to make for retailers to be open Thursday anyway? If Joe and Jane only have $400 to spend on Christmas gifts this year, it isn’t going to matter whether they spend it all on Thanksgiving or spread it over a period from now until Christmas. The only difference will be how much that $400 will purchase. It’s not like being open on Thanksgiving will make Joe and Jane spend $500.

And, for what it’s worth, it appears consumers already have been out in force anyway beginning their holiday purchases. As of this week, 53.8 percent of holiday shoppers already have made purchases according to statistics from the National Retail Federation.

After things quiet Thanksgiving evening I will scour the holiday edition of The Alpena News and map out my strategy for attacking Friday sales around town. When I hit the streets Friday, I’ll have the holiday circulars right there with me.

I believe holiday traditions are important. They help to bridge generations and unite the past with the future.

Shopping on Thanksgiving will never become a holiday tradition for me.

Deliver a message to retailers this Thanksgiving, and let them know it won’t become a tradition for you either.

Bill Speer can be reached via email at bspeer@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 354-3111 ext. 331. Follow Bill on Twitter @billspeer13. Read his blog, More BS?(Bill Speer) at www.thealpenanews.com.