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What happened to Thanksgiving?

Posted on Oct. 27, 2006

Sneaking up behind the bright orange jack ‘o’ lanterns peers a plastic jolly Santa Claus complete with rosy cheeks. Red hats lined with white fluffy trim sit in back of ghoulish, bloody masks. Hiding at the end of the long rows stacked with Halloween candy, trick-or-treat bags and costumes, Christmas lights, fake trees, stockings and glittering ornaments stake out waiting for their turn in the spotlight.

Although this may seem like a scene from Tim Burton’s film, “Nightmare Before Christmas,” this premature holiday season hype can be found throughout retail stores at this very moment. Strolling through Target the other day, I was excited to see Halloween decorations and costumes ready for the upcoming nightly extravaganza. However, taking a closer look at the aisles behind the sea of orange and black, I found mountains of green and red.

These opposite holidays, Halloween and Christmas, have collided as retailers gear up for the frantic holiday season, even though it is two months away. Halloween has not even happened, and Christmas is nipping at its heel.

And other retail stores specializing in clothes, furniture and gifts have skipped the fall season all together. Here we are in the middle of the warm colors of autumn with leaves sprinkling the ground, and retailers are already pushing themes of “Let it Snow” and “Winter Wonderland.” As I walked the streets of the Victoria Gardens this past weekend, nearly every store had dangling ornaments, manikins dressed in Christmas sweaters and sparkling lights in their display windows to preview the grandest of all shopping seasons.

Now, Christmas is my favorite time of year, but whatever happened to Thanksgiving? The turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie combined with old fashioned family time make this November holiday hard to look over. However, with the exclusion of supermarkets, stores have nothing to market for Thanksgiving except table décor.

It seems the retail market is pushing Christmas up as early as they can. Pretty soon, the most wonderful time of the year will be upon us in July.

And while retailers are capitalizing on their seasonal profits, people are left in frenzy. The holidays always seem to carry extra stress and everything moves twice as fast. The market’s push of the holiday season only increases this tension. People think they need to shop earlier, loose weight sooner and spend money quicker.

The holidays should be a time to relax and count our blessings, not balance our checkbooks every five seconds or check the scale three times a day.

These days the market defines how we live. If gas prices are too high, we don’t travel. If they say buy now, we have to beat the rush. Even though the United States’ successful market has propelled us through history, it also has confined us.

Our dependency on the market is embedded in the Americans way of living and is impossible to avoid. Commercials, billboards and advertisements make sure of it.

I understand that everyone has to make a living, but the retail industry has definitely coined the phrase, “the sooner, the better.” It’s unfortunate that the true meaning of the holidays has been masked by the stores’ version.

Seeing people in such disarray is disheartening; especially when they have forgotten why the holidays were once called “the most wonderful time of the year.” I would encourage people while running through stores, skipping “Turkey Day” and mourning over money, to stop and count the blessings that once defined the holiday season.

Nicole Knight, a senior journalism major, is editor in chief of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at