Don’t forget the turkey, please

By Kasie Von Haden

Lumen Editor

If you have been to Walmart, Kohl’s, or various other department stores lately, you’ve likely noticed the abounding yuletide. Christmas trees are decked with lights and ornaments, the aisles are full of decorations and toys are stocked from top to bottom, and even that ever-familiar holiday music is protruding from the store’s sound system. Even the streets of the city of La Crosse have been glittered with sparkling wreaths that hang on lampposts.

On your way to those stores, you may have noticed the various homes with their lights hung and Santa Claus figurines out in the yard. At night, those lights are blinking and Santa’s face glows, highlighting his plump red cheeks.

With the Christmas holiday soon approaching, I wanted to talk about something I find very important to this time of year.

Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 24. Hopefully.

With all of the Christmas cheer I’ve seen lately, I’m concerned that we’ve forgotten about Thanksgiving. Is it possible for a society to simply skip over such a significant holiday? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a Scrooge. I love Christmas just as much as anybody. But, I just can’t allow Thanksgiving to sit in the shadows of Christmas.

I try to consider reasons why the Christmas cheer is so abundant so early. Is it our consumer-driven society? Do we need to go out and buy things through early holiday sales, labeling ourselves as Santa’s elves, dressed in Christmas cheer? Do we need something to be “happy” about? Do we recognize that ultimately, Christmas can provide us with the warmth and love of family, friends, and cookies? If that’s the case, then we are failing to recognize the joy in giving thanks and being grateful for what we have.

I do understand the reason for putting up decorations so early. If someone waits too long, or until after Thanksgiving to put up their decorations, they could be facing bitterly cold winds and snow to put Santa and his reindeer on the roof. That’s no fun. But, just because the decorations are up, that doesn’t require them to be turned on, glowing, and blinking for the entire neighborhood to see.

I could even make the case for why department stores put out their décor so very early in the holiday season. Black Friday requires holiday spirit, and with store employees busily stocking shelves, they may not have the time to set out the mistletoe. I get that.

However, there’s a reason that even the Rotary Lights in Riverside Park are lit and celebrated with an opening ceremony and a visit from Santa on Friday, Nov. 25, and not before. It’s Thanksgiving.

I saw a picture on Facebook that  Nordstrom, a popular department store, posted a sign on their doors, saying that they wouldn’t decorate their store until after Thanksgiving. Why? It reads, “Well, we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time. From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.”

Thank you, Nordstrom, and others who decided to let Thanksgiving come first. Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good turkey.

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