Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Minimalist Thanksgiving

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I was speaking over the weekend with a friend who is from Nigeria. The subject of Thanksgiving came up. He indicated that Nigerians have been celebrating a Thanksgiving-style event for hundreds of years, even before the "first" Thanksgiving here in America.

For them, it is based on the same premise of thankfulness for the abundant harvest that ours finds its roots. Further conversation revealed that many African nations have this focused time of "after harvest celebration". Simply put, we weren't first.

For many Americans, Thanksgiving has become a four-day weekend, a football-game-filled gathering, a time to be with family and over-eat, and the day before "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving that boasts great deals on stuff).

I heard an ad for a national retailer that indicated that they would open for business at 3:00 am on Friday. Black Friday has become Black Friday Week for a few companies, where the same deals are available starting on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Why wait until Friday to shamelessly seek to take consumer's money?

And then there's the eating. (This is the self-inditing paragraph: Yes, I will over-eat, albeit only vegetables, and maybe have only one piece of pumpkin pie, sans whipped cream.) The amount of food consumed by Americans on Thanksgiving surpasses what some people eat in a month. (OK, I'm done.)

May I suggest that we hold off a little on the consumable edibles, and not be so focused on the consumable stuff, the shopping and spending. How about being more focused on our relationships, and gratitude for what we have (that others don't), rather than what we want?

Question: What can you do in your life that will make this Thanksgiving a little more minimalist? Share your thoughts below in responses.

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