Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Join the “Thanksgiving The Real Deal” movement November 21, 2013

TYPICALLY, I’M NOT ONE to jump on the bandwagon of a cause. If I have a strong opinion on a topic, I will express my viewpoint in a one-on-one conversation. That’s just me. But, occasionally, I will publicly voice my opinion here on a social issue.

This time that issue is retail stores opening on Thanksgiving Day and a new online grassroots effort to encourage people not to shop on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving the real deal logo

I wholeheartedly support my friend Beth Ann Chiles of Mason City, Iowa, and her co-organizer, Katybeth Jensen of Chicago, in their Facebook campaign, “Thanksgiving The Real Deal,” aimed at consumers, not retailers. Their premise is simple. If people don’t shop on Thanksgiving, retailers won’t feel pressured to be open.

Kind of the supply and demand premise. If there are no shoppers on Thanksgiving, there is no need for retail stores to begin Black Friday sales on Thursday.

Here’s a snippet of their thoughts:

Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, being grateful, and feeling content. It’s about timing dinner around football games, not store openings. It’s about arguing with family members over politics, not with strangers over a toaster. It’s about eating too much, not spending too much. It’s about dreading kissing Uncle Albert or Aunt Mabel, not dreading long check-out lines. It’s about acing someone out of the last piece of pie, not a parking spot. It’s about arguing with kids over dishes, not a trip to the mall. It’s about putting away left-overs, not shopping bags….

…Thanksgiving is the best deal in town; it’s priceless. Let’s work together to keep it that way by protecting it from retail fear and the bait of a bargain!

My brother and sister-in-law brought a stack of newspaper ads for us to peruse after dinner.

This photo shows Black Friday ads from a few years ago in a Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo. This image is not indicative of businesses open on Thanksgiving Day and is used here for illustration purposes only. On the “Thanksgiving The Real Deal” Facebook page, you will find a listing of retailers NOT open on Thanksgiving.

Now, choosing to endorse the “Thanksgiving The Real Deal” campaign was a no-brainer for me. I’ve never even shopped on Black Friday. I’ve heard, read and viewed the negative news stories about shoppers in pursuit of bargains. No, thank you. I’m not so driven to score a bargain that I would fight crowds or even arise early to shop on Black Friday.

Thanksgiving Day dinner at my house with family.

Thanksgiving Day dinner at my house with family. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

And now that hysteria has edged into Thanksgiving Day, a holiday when we should be celebrating with family around the dining room table. I am very much a family-oriented person. I can’t imagine placing shopping before family or anyone wanting to work retail rather than gather with family or friends on Thanksgiving.

Some folks, like those with jobs in law enforcement, the medical field, firefighting and such, need to work, holiday or not. My second daughter, in fact, is on call on Thanksgiving Day as a Spanish medical interpreter. I won’t see her; she lives 300 miles away.

But if you are employed in retail, you shouldn’t have to work on Thanksgiving. These stores do not need to be open.

Like the organizers of “Thanksgiving The Real Deal,” I ask you to choose family instead of shopping. Show your public support for this cause on the campaign’s Facebook page (click here) and follow the suggestions to spread the word about this movement.

Focus, too, on giving thanks on Thanksgiving.

Stand strong against the societal pressures of consumerism. Choose not to shop on Thanksgiving.

© Copyright 2013 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


40 Responses to “Join the “Thanksgiving The Real Deal” movement”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Thank you so much, Audrey, for sharing this!!! Great post and it will be shared on many social media platforms !!! The pictures are a wonderful addition to the post! Thanks again so much!!! Hugs!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are welcome, Beth Ann. And thanks to you and Katybeth for launching this grassroots “Thanksgiving the Real Deal” campaign.

  2. Debbie Says:

    I found you via Beth Ann and Katybeth’s Facebook page and wanted to say a hearty ‘Thank you!’ for joining in the cause! Well said, Audrey. As a former journalist, I worked many a holiday, and I know some professions do need to keep running. Retail stores do NOT. People can organize themselves and get their holiday shopping done without having to mar a national day of gratitude.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are welcome, Debbie. My education and background are also in journalism, so I, too, worked many holidays and evenings and weekends. The hours were actually pretty horrible. And working holidays was tough.

      Thanks for stopping by via Thanksgiving The Real Deal and for supporting this cause.

  3. Friday will be spent with family and taking in a comic play at a local theater. Then Saturday we will go out to support Small Businesses Day with a wine/shop event. This time of year the gym goes into Silly mode and I do not want to be around all those people in the mall or retail stores either. That is not what the Holiday season means to me! Happy Thursday:)

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Way to go, Renee, with putting family first.

      And thanks for mentioning Small Business Saturday. Last year I was shopping at a small business in Faribault on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and was awarded a goodie bag complete with a discount coupon to our local third-generation family-owned shoe store. How sweet was that?

    • Thanks Audrey and since my family lives miles away I enjoy taking the time to spend quality time with them:)

      I love supporting the local businesses because they give back to the consumer but also the COMMUNITY!!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:


        Enjoy your time with family and your time supporting local small businesses.

      • I was trying to figure out the last time I saw my parents and could not remember – too long – ha! I have not seen my brother since 2009 – way too long too. Hard when you have family scattered throughout the U.S.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Oh, Renee, that is so sad. Are you seeing both your brother and parents this Thanksgiving?

        I’ll see my eldest and her husband, but the son in Boston, no, and the daughter in northeastern Wisconsin, no. Picture a sad mom face here. But a happy mom face that I get to spend Thanksgiving with my husband, my oldest and my new son-in-law.

      • It is sad and you do what you can do too – thank goodness for technology to keep in touch:) Just my parents – my brother has a big brood and traveling gets expensive.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Technology does help, doesn’t it?

  4. Thank you! Encouragement is so motivating! I loved the dinner picture and I’m betting the chair is empty not because someone opted out to shop or work, but belonged to the picture taker!
    Thankful for you!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are right about the chair, Katybeth.

      Thanks to you and Beth Ann for your hard work on “Thanksgiving The Real Deal.” You’ve got folks thinking and talking.

  5. Jim Sullivan Says:

    Thank you. I’ve been promoting the same sentiment at Thanksgiving Comes First. Love to see you there!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Jim, I just checked out your blog post on the topic and left a comment. I’m not on Facebook, but did look at the page. You are doing some good things there. Another great effort to get the word out.

  6. judyb1992 Says:

    Amen! Just put up similar comment on my Facebook posts.

  7. Just “liked” this on Facebook! Very happy to share the campaign. I think there are a lot of us out here who abhor the Black Friday creep!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thanks much, Kathleen. Jim Sullivan from Massachusetts has a similar campaign, started a number of years back, called “Thanksgiving Comes First.” If you have a minute, meander over to his Facebook page.

  8. JIll Johnson Says:

    You are spot on, Audrey! Thanksgving is a family celebration and not a shopping frenzy!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Lots of agreement on this topic. I’m grateful to Beth Ann and Katybeth for launching this Thanksgiving The Real Deal” campaign.

  9. Jackie Says:

    Can everyone say…… AMEN!!! I’m right there with you Audrey, it’s getting out of control and I feel frustrated in so many ways. Another sad fact is that some of those retail employees are being made to work (part of the job) they dont have a choice, that’s just wrong! I dont shop Black friday either, cant imagine the fun in it, but at least thats AFTER Thanksgiving.. or so it’s suppose to be.

  10. treadlemusic Says:

    Totally “on board” with this!!! I’ve never shopped “Black Friday” or even any of the ‘weekend days’ following Thanksgiving!! This is all about the “bottom line” (for the retail industry) and appeals to the “greedy”/”I must have it” core that is fed by this same industry! It is not the value system most embrace but rather appeals to the ‘ya better grab it before the next one gets it’ mob mentality! I think we need to step back, take a deep breath and re-appraise all the blessings we have already surrounding us!…….(walking away, taking soap box with…………….)

  11. hotlyspiced Says:

    I’m sorry to hear your daughter won’t be home for Thanksgiving. I totally agree with you that it’s a crime any shop will open on such a special day. Back when I was a teenager all shops were closed on The Lord’s Day, Sunday. Saturday trading was strictly from 8am – 12md. Late night shopping was just one day a week – Thursday nights from 5pm – 9pm. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, the world was a better place. Small businesses who owned the stores could go home and have some time away from their businesses and with everything closed, families had more time to be together. Regrettably, we have become more American and shops are now open every day of the week and open until all hours. I think this has caused the end of ‘a day of rest’. There’s pressure for our shops to be open on Good Friday and all through Easter and over Christmas because we have so many migrants now from cultures who don’t respect our beliefs or observe our religious holidays that they are applying pressure to have things their way. I could go on but I just think Thanksgiving is just one day a year and everyone can surely organise themselves to not have to go shopping on such a special day xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I think it’s a combination of greediness on the part of businesses, our society’s emphasis on materialism, loss of family values and faith, etc. that have led to these changes in America. Some states still have “blue laws” where retailers cannot be open on Sundays or until a certain time on Sunday.

  12. I will never shop on Thanksgiving – that’s just dumb. Besides, who has the energy at the end of cooking such a meal?!! (And eating it!) I never shop on Black Friday, either. And as for Cyber Monday…I plan to do my cyber shopping more spread out…but I will do it for sure!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Good points. I wouldn’t have the energy to shop either after a big Thanksgiving Day meal. Wouldn’t matter. I won’t shop on Thanksgiving Day either, cooking or not.

  13. Mike Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have the same feeling that Thanksgiving should be about spending TIME with family, not rushing to get a good deal on a TV. Even if the gift is for a family member, memories of time around the table or playing games will last a lifetime. That material item will be forgotten in less than 5 years. The same goes for Christmas. My wife cannot figure out why at the age of 40 I still insist on watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. The message is a good reminder for all, that’s why. I have pledged to never allow myself to be swept into the hysteria of Thanksgiving shopping and now say NO to Black Friday as well. I’ll be posting this on my FB tonight, thank you.

    Loved the picture too. It brings back some great memories of being at my Grandma’s and all my relatives were packed in around the table. Unfortunately due to people passing on, moving, etc… things have never been quite the same. God bless you during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      You are welcome, Mike. And thank you for stopping by to share your thoughts and your support for the “Thanksgiving the Real Deal” movement.

      Your comment about memories of extended family gathered for holidays could be mine. Times have changed and families, for the most part, no longer live close to one another. Perhaps this is part of the reason for the shift in focus on shopping rather than family. Not a good one, for certain.

      I totally understand why you still watch A Charlie Brown Christmas. My favorite has always been the Grinch.

      A most blessed Thanksgiving and Christmas to you and yours also.

  14. Thread crazy Says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more Audrey. Thanksgiving is a day for being with family and or friends, relaxing, reminiscing, enjoying the day. I never did understand the thrill of getting up while it’s still pitch black outside and freezing and running out to shop. Always too tired from eating too much!

  15. […] Join The “Thanksgiving The Real Deal” Movement […]

  16. PLB Says:

    I too think it is a disgrace to open on THANKSGIVING. mY DAUGHTER HAS TO GO TO WORK AT 5 p.m

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