the boss of thanksgivingThanksgiving is supposed to be a day of thanks. It is supposed to be bountiful and generous and kind. But have you ever noticed how bossy it can be?

The Boss of Thanksgiving is the cultural script that demands that we celebrate the day in the socially sanctioned way. That means gathering with immediate family, extended family, and friends, around a table creaking under the weight of mountains of food.

Nothing wrong with that script if that’s how you really do like to spend your Thanksgiving. But what if you have a different fantasy of the perfect holiday?

My rant today was set off by Change.org, a group I typically adore. From that platform, ordinary people have time and again enlisted the help of other everyday people and created the change they envisioned.

Here’s the opening paragraph of a petition I was asked to sign a few days ago:

“In the past few weeks, over 230,000 people have signed my petition asking my employer, Target, to change its Black Friday shopping hours to let employees have Thanksgiving dinner with our families.”

I’m with the petitioner in resisting the encroachment of the shopping frenzy into the hours that rightly belong to the holiday of Thanksgiving. Do you see, though, what I don’t like about the framing of the plea?

The petitioner assumes that all employees – and by implication, all Americans – will be celebrating Thanksgiving with their families. (Later in the letter, a more expansive category – “loved ones” –  is mentioned.) But not everyone has the option of spending Thanksgiving with family or loved ones. Maybe even more importantly, not everyone wants to spend Thanksgiving that way, even if the opportunity is available to them.

Toward the end of the petition is this paragraph:

“After I was on TV, my manager offered me Thanksgiving day off. But I declined. This isn’t just about me – it’s about respecting one of the few days retail workers have a year to spend time with their families.” [emphasis was in the original]

I’m all for respect. So how about this? Let’s ask Target and all of the other stores bent on infringing on the holiday to respect every American’s wish to spend the day in whatever way they like. Those who luxuriate in the opportunity to spend the day in blissful solitude should not be expected to be called back to work prematurely any more than those who want to linger with the family over bonus rounds of pumpkin pie.

We are a diverse nation. The dreamiest way to spend a day off is not the same for everyone. No one should presume to know what a sublime Thanksgiving would look like for someone else. Target is not the boss of me. And much as I love it, neither is Change.org.

Thanksgiving photo available from Shutterstock

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 3 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

Trackbacks

From Psych Central's website:
Living the Single-at-Heart Life Like You Never Could Before | Single at Heart (November 25, 2013)






    Last reviewed: 20 Nov 2012

APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2012). Who Is the Boss of Thanksgiving?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 18, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/single-at-heart/2012/11/who-is-the-boss-of-thanksgiving/

 

 

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Emerson: My strategy with bread is to cut the whole thing into slices, freeze it, and then defrost however much I...
  • Bella DePaulo, Ph.D: I totally agree, Wil. It is one of my pet peeves about supermarket shopping.
  • Wil: One business that I think was left out are grocery stores. It seems like there are items that are large enough...
  • bob: What I find funny is that while certain sectors of society are accepting of how the culture changes, they always...
  • Bella DePaulo, Ph.D: Thanks for posting this and including the link. I had been seeing mentions but not with the...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!