Once upon a time, in the beautiful country known for its milk-and-honey lifestyle, the people of the Great Nation were grateful for their success and prosperity. And so they set aside a Day of Thanks. Family and friends from every corner of the Great Nation came together on the Day of Thanks.
Families of the Great Nation reveled in their freedom to eat as gluttons, argue passionately about conflicting political and religious views, and fall asleep while watching athletes clobber each other in pursuit of an egg-shaped ball.
But the Great Nation had a dark history of battling with the forces of greed. And while there were many who greatly appreciated what they had, and many more who longed to immigrate to the land of milk and honey, the dark powers of greed simmered beneath the surface of prosperity.
Over time, holiday sales became serious business on the day after the Day of Thanks. Even though many people were still visiting with family and friends, shopping traditions began to evolve. While the tradition began innocently enough as a way to get out of the house while relatives were still in town, it quickly gained in popularity.
Greed continued and gained strength as it targeted innocent CEOs while they sat comfortably in their plush leather swivel chairs. The CEOs decided to invest in funny, persuasive television ads that entertained while subtly convincing shoppers they’d be wasting hard-earned money if they missed out on Black Friday sales.
Store’s began opening doors at 4 a.m. and offering extra-special, door-busting discounts for dedicated, early-bird patrons. Dangling 50-cent televisions for the first three shoppers on Black Friday in front of the people of the Great Nation, CEOs knew thousands—nay, billions—of desperate, recession-affected shoppers would line up hours before the store opened.
Stores began opening their doors earlier and earlier, eventually offering the biggest deals on the Great Nation’s Day of Thanks. People were convinced if they did not take advantage of the Black Friday savings opportunities, which were now offered on Thursday only, they would be throwing their money away.
When Thursday sales topped profit charts, people began staying home rather than spending the Day of Thanks with friends and relatives. It was the only way to take advantage of local sales and specials. Holiday shopping, including wrapping and shipping presents, became the sole purpose of the extended holiday weekend.
The history of the Great Nation’s Day of Thanks became warped and clouded. Children were taught that the best way to thank someone for being part of the family or a good friend or neighbor was by buying them the latest, greatest novelty electronics for the lowest prices possible.
Then, one day, a teenager was given an assignment. He had to research the history of a holiday. He chose the Day of Thanks. He soon discovered families used to gather together and eat fattened poultry. As part of his research, he decided to persuade his family to forego the traditional shopping rituals of the Day of Thanks.
The teenager proceeded to invite family and friends to a meal scheduled for the middle of the biggest shopping day of the year. At first, recipients thought the invitation was a prank. Upon hearing it wasn’t, they decided to attend. They worried about losing out on great shopping deals, but their curiosity was strong.
The teenager prepared many foods, including marshmallow-topped yams, onion-topped green beans, corn casserole, and rolls. In the middle of the table sat two platters—one holding a large ham, the other a 25-pound turkey. Guests were stunned by the display of food. As they ate, the teenager shared what he learned about the true history of the Day of Thanks.
After the meal, the teenager ushered everyone into the big screen room to watch sports. He then cleared the table and reset it with pies and cakes and cookies. His guests declared they couldn’t eat a stitch more, after which they devoured two-thirds of the confections.
The boy wrote a spectacular report. The teacher, intrigued and impressed, submitted his research paper to news outlets. The story spread like fire over the Internet. Everyone wanted to try this new approach to the Day of Thanks.
By the following year, people from all over the Great Nation were once again compelled to travel and be with family and friends on the Day of Thanks. They enjoyed copious amounts of food. They fought about politics and religion. They watched sports.
However, before digging in to their cornucopias of cuisine, they took time to give thanks. They gave thanks for all the new holiday sales and specials offered over the summer, providing them opportunities to save money rather than waste time on hot sticky beaches. They gave thanks that all their holiday gifts were purchased, wrapped and under the tree by the close of summer. They gave thanks that the true meaning of this holiday had finally been restored.
Micki Bare is a columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau and the Courier-Tribune in Asheboro, N.C., and the author of Thurston T. Turtle children’s books. She and her family live in North Carolina. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.