Tag Archives: holiday

Forget Thanksgetting … give Thanksgiving its due

In one of the most awful campaigns in modern memory, Verizon converts the holiday to “Thanksgetting.” Walmart talks about being open early and late on Thanksgiving and implying that “everybody wins” (except for the employees who don’t get more time with loved ones). And my inbox has already seen dozens of emails from retailers about using today to get a jump on Black Friday.


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I don’t consider it Black Friday Eve.

My memories are of my late grandparents wrangling the extended family for sumptuous meals, laughter and love. We were relegated to the kids’ table, but that was part of the entertainment. If somebody had brought the idea of shopping at a big-box store on Thanksgiving up to my grandfather, he would have ridiculed it, with good reason.

Canadians do their Thanksgiving far away from Christmas, and I’m sure it’s pleasant to just get together with family and delve into food without the clatter of the commercialized version of Christmas nibbling at the edges.

America being America, you can’t bring up the ludicrous nature of retailers opening on Thanksgiving without an argument, since that’s what Americans do. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE FIREFIGHTS AND POLICE WHO WORK ON THANKSGIVING YOU OBVIOUSLY DON’T CARE ABOUT THEM SHARE THIS IF YOU AGREE 93% OF YOU WON’T BECAUSE YOU’RE NOT GOOD AMERICANS, etc.

It’s a disingenuous argument. We all appreciate that police, firefighters, hospital workers and many others work on Thanksgiving and other holidays. It’s required for society to function. I seem to recall society functioning pretty well long before Walmart and its ilk found it necessary to put profits over family by making Thanksgiving about gorging in the aisles too.


OK, I’m out and back to gratitude. Instead of thinking about getting, let’s be thankful for what we have, and who we have in our lives. Go read Dave Cameron’s excellent Thanks-living blog entry to get back to what’s good. And may any arguments today instead be over whether stuffing or mashed potatoes are the better side dish. And the answer is stuffing, of course.


Filed under words

shouldn’t every day be boxing day?

[I wrote this editorial eight years ago for The Palladium-Times. In these trying times, it’s as relevant as ever.]

Happy Boxing Day, everybody!

What, you’ve never heard of Boxing Day?

You wouldn’t be alone. Though the holiday is celebrated in many countries including Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, it never registered in the States.

First of all, it has nothing to do with the sport of boxing or pugilists like Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield or Muhammed Ali.

It also has nothing to do with boxing up gifts one has received and returning them to stores … an all-too-familiar American tradition on Dec. 26.

Boxing Day is believed to have started as a day of charity in England, where it is also known as St. Stephen’s Day. One prevalent theory is this post-Christmas holiday began as a way for masters to thank servants, tradespeople, merchants and other workers for their service through the year with small (boxed) tokens of appreciation. Another popular thesis postulates that the day after Christmas was when churches opened their alms boxes and presented their contents to the needy.

The exact origin is disputed, but ultimately Boxing Day became an occasion to help the less fortunate. The World Book Encyclopedia notes that the holiday traditionally included giving money and other gifts to charitable institutions, needy individuals, and people in service jobs.

And with this being a time for giving, what’s wrong with that?

For the Ebenezer Scrooges out there who didn’t help others during the holiday season, this offers a Dickensian twist for redemption — a chance for those fortunate enough to share blessings with friends, families or even strangers.

Christmas is behind us … but a New Year still looms. Wouldn’t Boxing Day be a good tune-up for being that better person most of us want to be in the year to come?

Not much is required to do your part for Boxing Day 2.0 … but consider it a first step toward extending the holiday spirit year-round. If, for example, you have leftover non-perishable food items from stocking up for the holidays, this would be a good time to give them to local food pantries, who see a decline in donations after Christmas (and let’s not forget that hunger is a year-round problem). Now that there is a respite from the holiday stress, is there anyone who could really use a bit of friendly support from you? Or, perhaps easiest of all, can you perpetuate one random act of simple kindness today?

It doesn’t seem much to ask. Since Boxing Day isn’t an American tradition (yet), there’s nothing wrong with starting small.


Filed under writing