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


Too much pre-holiday consumerism? November 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:28 AM
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DURING THE PAST WEEK, we’ve been bombarded with news stories and advertising campaigns aimed at Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, all with the underlying theme of spending.

Honestly, I am tired of the greedy, materialistic consumerism that grips us during the pre-holiday season.

Are we so materialistic that we have to skip or cut out early on family gatherings, fight each other in the aisles and buy items simply because they are on sale?

I get nostalgic for those days when we weren’t quite so materialistically-inclined.

But, if I’m honest, I can look back and see that even during the 1960s, when I was growing up, we, too, focused on the gift aspect of Christmas more than we should have.

Remember “the Christmas catalog?”

I could not wait for the mailman (not carrier) to drop off the J.C. Penney Christmas catalog in our mailbox at the end of our southwestern Minnesota farm driveway.

My siblings and I fought over who got to look at the Christmas catalog first. By the time all six of us had thumbed through the wish book numerous times, the pages were worn and creased. We drew up Christmas lists from the catalog, wishing for the doll or the Army tank or the spotted Twister mat featured in the photos.

Rarely did we get any of those requested items; our parents simply did not have the money. Even though we certainly dreamed and wished and dreamed and wished some more, we were content with whatever gifts we received.

Today, however, I think many parents feel obligated to give their kids whatever they ask for. I don’t agree with that line of thinking. Kids need to learn and understand that they cannot have everything they want when they want it.

But first, we as adults need to curb our own greedy consumerism and our desire to have everything we want when we want it.

WHAT’S YOUR OPINION on consumerism this time of year, or in general? Let me hear your thoughts.

© Copyright 2011 Audrey Kletscher Helbling