Don’t shop on Thanksgiving

The holiday is for family and reflection—leave shopping for another day

For most Americans, Thanksgiving is about gathering with family and friends, cooking up a delicious meal and spending time together. Many people take the day to not only enjoy each other, but also to give thanks for everything they have. Some families even leave their homes to donate time to feed those without dinner tables or the means to provide a large meal for their loved ones.

So, why do we feel the need to commercialize this otherwise noncommercial holiday?

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has long been a hot shopping day and it seems like every year the clock has moved back, from 5 a.m. store openings to 3 a.m. to even midnight. But this year, big-box stores such as Best Buy, Toys R Us and Kohl’s—and many of the stores in malls across the country—are opening on Thanksgiving. Something is wrong with this picture.

Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, a time to be thankful for our loved ones, our health, the food on the table and everything that makes our individual lives full and happy. It is not a time to be thinking about sales on things we do not have.

We are not arguing against spending money on your loved ones (or yourself!) during the holiday season. In fact, we hope you do. One of our favorite shopping days all year is Small Business Saturday, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, because money spent locally tends to stay in the local economy. That’s good for all of us.

But we urge our readers to resist the temptation to sneak away from dinner early to snag what seems like a great deal. If we show the big-box stores that taking over Thanksgiving doesn’t work, they might not try the same gimmick next year.

Enjoy your families on Thursday. After all, you have nearly a whole month before Christmas to shop.