There aren’t many homes decorated with fall art, inflatable turkeys, or even Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin. Residents go right to Christmas decorations because the weather is warmer for putting them up. Christmas started November 1. So did Black Friday sales. That holiday we used to celebrate between Halloween and Christmas is almost forgotten. If not for ShopRite’s advertising a free turkey if you buy $400 worth of food, we would bypass Thanksgiving and go right to Black Friday.

The turkey, which was almost selected over the American eagle as the symbol of our country, gets no respect! Twenty-five percent of millennials have stated that they would bypass the traditional turkey feast and cook something else – maybe Spurky made from Spam? My wife bought a cute stuffed turkey holding a sign that reads “EAT HAM!” Perhaps we should give the holiday a new name. We have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Sunday the Lord’s Day, Cyber Monday, and Travel Tuesday; maybe Turkey Thursday would help us to remember Thanksgiving better.

Most department stores and malls used to close on Thanksgiving Day, and then they started opening at 6 p.m. Now some are open all day to accommodate people who would rather shop than be at home with their families. (At the time of this writing, some major retail stores have wisely announced that they will be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Maybe this is the start of new trend going back to an old trend.) The Black Friday sales craze has expanded from department stores and online to Smith & Wesson and car dealerships. I can’t wait to put money down on a Toyota, Honda, or Kia on an American holiday.

Is this all leading to the cancellation of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or the renaming of it to the Macy’s Holiday or Christmas Parade? Will they can (no pun intended) the turkey balloon?

Thanksgiving Day is intended to give thanks for all we have, including our families – not sales or the almighty buck. If you have your health, a job, a roof over your head, food on your table, clean water to drink, clothes on your back, and some money in your pocket, you are better off than 92% of the rest of the world. Are we forgetting how good we have it to the point that we don’t express thankfulness? We can’t let retail sales and new cultural norms change something special we have as Americans: Thanksgiving Day.

To you and yours, have a happy, healthy, and filling Thanksgiving.

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Tony has lived in Lake Hopatcong since 1987. He has a bachelor’s degree in American literature from Ramapo College, a New Jersey teacher’s certificate, and a master’s in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Tony’s column, “For What It’s Worth,” appeared in Aim Jefferson for nine years. He recently retired after 46 years in the corporate world. Tony can be reached at tony.haryn@thejeffersonchronicle.com.