By Kathy Schiffer
Ave Maria Radio
The annual Christmas Commercialization Controversy is kicking in a day early in 2013.
That’s because this year retailers across the country, clamoring for bigger profits, have extended the shopping season by one day—announcing that they will remain open on Thanksgiving Day. That means that Thanksgiving Day, many dinners will be eaten on the fly, as mothers and their working teenage children head to the mall to shop or, conversely, to work at their retail jobs in stores where the shoppers will spend their holiday.
The competition for holiday shoppers is nothing new. In the old days, though, I remember stores wooing my mother and enticing shoppers to open their wallets in other ways: with twinkly Christmas lights, hymns and carols on the store’s loudspeakers, Santa ho-ho-ho-ing in the toy department. Sears Roebuck, J.C. Penney, J.L. Hudson, smaller shops—all followed the same family-friendly schedule, and all shared a commitment to retaining “family time” around the holidays.
In fact, in those days Sundays were also family days. In my neighborhood, stores had a sign on the door which read,
“Closed Sundays. See you in church.”
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This year, most of the big chain retailers have announced that they’ll be open for at least a few hours on Thanksgiving Day. Getting a head start on “Black Friday” craziness, Kmart, Walmart, Target, Sears, and Toys “R” Us will remain open for business on the holiday. Most Macy’s locations across the nation will open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving evening.
Why the new trend toward early-bird shopping? As the economy has waned, more and more retailers are seeking new strategies to attract market share. Tom Scott from the Michigan Retailers Association explains: “A little bit earlier, a little bit earlier. Come up with a little bit more of a promotion to catch people’s attention, and now yank them away from the Thanksgiving table in order to go shopping.”
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In our area there is one retail chainwhich has decided to keep store doors closed on Thanksgiving Day: Menard’s.
Menard’s released the following statement on Tuesday:
As a family-owned company, Menards believes that Thanksgiving is a time for togetherness, which should be celebrated with all those we hold dear. With this in mind, we decided to remain closed on Thanksgiving Day so you, as well as our Team Members, can celebrate this joyous time with family and friends. We will open our doors bright and early at 6 a.m. on Friday morning, November 29th, so you can SAVE BIG with our 6 Hour After Thanksgiving Sale!
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My advice: Enjoy Thanksgiving with your young’uns and your family. Eat turkey. Watch the parade. Watch football with Dad. Play Mexican Train dominoes with Grandma. Work puzzles with the kids.
And on Friday, get up early and go shopping. My personal preference, when my children were young and home from school for a long holiday weekend, was to extend our shopping fast and enjoy our Friday, as well. If you must shop, though, plan to hit the sales early on Black Friday. Shop at Menard’s, even if you’ve never been there before, to show your support for their family-friendly policy.
And don’t forget that on-line shopping is increasingly popular, and is a good solution for harried mothers and fathers!
And on Thanksgiving, remember to be thankful!