When the Pilgrims invited their Indian neighbors over for a cookout in 1621, the only thing that was on anyone’s minds was to give thanks. Thanks for a bountiful harvest, thanks for the nice neighbors, thanks for the continued good health of the community, and prayerful hope that the winter wouldn’t be too harsh and everyone would survive one more year.
The day was meant for all who celebrated to sit back, enjoy the meal, share a few laughs, and get ready for winter.
In 1863, then-President Lincoln declared that there should be a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” and again the only thing anyone was concerned about was to give thanks for the food on the table, the bountiful harvest, the continued good health of family and community, the quick end to the Civil War, and a prayerful hope that all would survive through the winter to see another year.
Somewhere between the lofty ideals of 1863 and the present time, Thanksgiving has morphed into the holiday where we watch parades, cheer on football games, stuff ourselves like fattened Christmas geese, and get ready for midnight madness shopping, completely forgetting about any sort of thanks. The bottom line is that Thanksgiving is no longer a day of thanks, it is just the day that stands between Wednesday and Black Friday, with a little stuffing thrown in for good measure.
Macy’s, the department store giant that has hosted the annual parade since 1924 and, for as long as I can remember, was always closed to shoppers on turkey day, will now be open.
The generous parade host closed on that day so its workers could go home and celebrate with their families after the parade, when Santa ushered in the Christmas season. But all that’s changed because of the bottom line demanded by greed and commerce.
According to New York Post story the other day, Macy’s made the decision based on the fact that it was loosing too much business to rival stores. It seems that paradegoers were popping off to other stores to shop till they dropped instead of going home to turkey, stuffing, football, and family. Why waste the trip? Let’s get a jump on Black Friday, let’s beat the crowds and get a heads up on shopping.
So to keep ahead of the Joneses, the Walmarts, the Gaps, and the Lord and Taylor, Macy’s will now be open and ready for the same old, same old business as usual on Thanksgiving, which effectively puts the last spike in the holiday’s box.
Couldn’t Macy’s forgo its bottom line for the sake of the tradition, and stay closed for the good of its workers and the sanctity of the day?
Not for Nuthin, but old R.H. Macy must be rolling in his grave.
Follow me on Twitter @JDelBuono.