Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

November 6, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: Can we find time to give thanks?

ASHLAND — It used to be every sports season had its own time as did every holiday season. The overlapping has made it difficult to enjoy the ones you like the most because of all that’s happening around us.

As the World Series was unfolding the NFL was in full swing and the NBA season was starting and the college basketball season was gearing up. There’s almost not enough channels (OK, well maybe there is, but you get my point).

I don’t worry so much about the sports seasons overlapping. I’ll choose my favorite and watch what I want to watch.

But the holiday season is something different altogether. Take for instance, Thanksgiving. Whatever happened to Thanksgiving? It seems more and more each year, the holiday is being squeezed out of our lives.

It used to be a time set aside to give thanks for the bounty God has given us. Now though, it’s an afterthought to the pre-Christmas shopping season. They are infringing even more now with some of the bigger retailers announcing they are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day for the pre-Black Friday sales.

Really? We can’t set aside one day to catch our breath and be with family? I know it’s up to the families to do that but dangling those Black Friday sell prices a day early is too tempting for many. They won’t be able to keep themselves away.

My memories of Thanksgiving are of waking up in the morning to the smell of turkey. My mother, a wonderful cook, always fixed the big meal with special care. Her dressing was spectacular, too, and everybody raves about her cranberry salad. We’d take in the meal, watch a little football — remember when the Detroit Lions were the only team to host a game on the holiday? — and spend time together as a family.

My wife’s family is the same way, and we typically eat there for Thanksgiving. Mom brings her cranberry salad and joins us. My mother-in-law is another unbelievable cook, one of the best I’ve ever seen, and puts out a bounty fit for a king every Thanksgiving. They understand the true meaning of the season, of it being a time to give thanks and a time for family.

That’s Thanksgiving. But it’s slipping away from the mainstream family. It has become less about giving thanks and more about getting that deal.

I’m even OK with Black Friday and the excitement that comes along with it although I’m not a traditional participant. The fun of flipping through the many ads in the newspaper on Thanksgiving morning or evening and mapping out buying strategy was cool. Personally, I’ve become more of a cyber shopper. The prices are about the same and they bring it right to your door. No long lines or fights over merchandise. I’ll be glad to wait for Cyber Monday.

Did you know Halloween is the second-most lucrative “holiday” for retailers, behind Christmas? Halloween paraphernalia brings in $7 billion while Christmas brings in $450 billion.

Consumers spend about $30 billion at Thanksgiving, but it’s not as profitable because the money spent for that season is mostly food, which does not carry as high a markup value as Halloween.

It seems after the busy Halloween season, retailers pretty much skip Thanksgiving and move right on to Christmas because that’s where the money is. Show me the money, right? What a shame.

Thanksgiving seems to be getting squeezed out of our memory. We should be grateful every day and honestly should take more than one day to thank God for everything he has given us. And we need to focus on our gifts from him instead of what gifts we can buy on Black Friday.

Thanksgiving deserves a more honored place in our society. It’s up to each of us to make it one.

Messiah update

Carl Taylor reports the numbers are good for the “Messiah” community choir scheduled to perform on Dec. 8 at Plaza Nazarene.

He said singers from area colleges and universities, including a group from the UK Music Department, will be part of the choir.

Also, Anne Stephens, the local UK extension agent for fine arts, is offering to host three rehearsals for singers at the extension office at  35 Wurtland Ave. in Wurtland.

The dates are  from 7 to 8:30 p.m. (sopranos and altos), Nov. 25, Dec. 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. (tenor and bass) and from 3 to 5 p.m. (all parts).Dec. 7. Everyone is invited. For more information, call the office at (606) 836-0201.

Contact Taylor at carl.taylor@boyd.kyschools.us for more information about the community event.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2648.

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