For newcomers to my quixotic Thanksgiving marketing campaign, allow me to explain. As the capitalist marketing machine takes over holidays, certain values fall by the wayside, including gratitude for what we have.
Halloween has become big business, taking over multiple aisles of Target in early September. Halloween is a holiday dedicated to children in store-bought costumes begging for candy and adults dressing up in increasingly clever and competitive costumes for elaborate themed parties that involve a lot of drinking.
These two activities sometimes merge. In our old neighborhood, a number of folks hand out beer and wine to the adults even as they hand candy to children. Crowds of buzzed adults walk from house to house escorting children high on sugar. While entertaining, it's not exactly a celebration of family values, now, is it?
As soon as Halloween gets close, even more Target aisles are filled with Christmas stuff. Christmas has become so commercial, and it's all about getting more stuff...at least to our public culture. Christians sometimes reign in the commercial aspects in the name of celebrating the Reason for the Season, but under the onslaught of sales and advertising and children's wish lists for Apple products, it can feel rather greedy and grasping, all about getting and spending rather than a baby born two thousand years ago.
Now, consider how many Target aisles are dedicated to Thanksgiving, the holiday stuck between Halloween and Christmas.
Thanksgiving gets an end-cap. Maybe two. (Let me note that Hanukkah also just gets an end-cap.) Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to being grateful for the harvest, for friends and family, for enough food to get through the winter. The simple things. But these days, it's more about football, parades, the necessary day before Black Friday (which now starts on Thursday night!!!!), and gorging ourselves senseless.
Now, if you've paid attention to all the "happiness research" that's come out in the past decade or so, you know one of the key components to happiness is gratitude...being grateful for what we have, for those small things that make life easier, more comfortable, more beautiful, safer, healthier. Gratitude doesn't feel the need to shop to excess, and thus there is no reason to market Thanksgiving anywhere except the grocery store.
But I've ranted long enough. Years ago, my pastor preached a sermon about saving Thanksgiving. He suggested writing letters to people for whom you are grateful: old teachers, friends you've not seen in years, the barista at Starbucks, your neighbor who always waves at you but whose name you don't know, your mom. His suggestion resonated with the card-maker in me, and ever since, I've done as he suggests.
There are plenty of excuses not to participate. We're all so busy. There's so much to do, and we don't need ANOTHER item on our agenda. It's football season. I'm making Christmas cards. Yadda, yadda.
Whether you live in a country that observes a formal Thanksgiving Day or not, I challenge you to make the time to express your gratitude to at least five people this fall. My friends in Canada will celebrate Thanksgiving on October 12 this year, and we in the United States will celebrate on November 26. If you're in another country, just pick a deadline that works best for you and play along.
Isn't thanking the special people in your life worth a bit of your time and attention?
Of course it is!
The Thanksgiving Crusade is an actual card-making challenge, with an InLinkz button and everything. I'm even going to send four random entrants a small token of appreciation! You'll find the button on the Thanksgiving Page of this here little blog.
The InLinkz button will be open on the Thanksgiving Page until midnight on November 26, 2015. Winners will be announced on November 28, and the small tokens will be sent out as soon as possible after receiving addresses!
These crisp, clean images are evocative of the season, and the simple, strong colors make a bold statement. This is what clean-and-simple gratitude is all about. But your challenge card(s) need not be CAS. Mine all will be, but this challenge is open to all styles...and all grateful hearts.
Rules for the Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge
1. Make a card that expresses gratitude: fall, Thanksgiving, or thank-you themed cards will do. It doesn't even need to be CAS! The important thing here is expressing gratitude, not conforming to a particular style or number of layers.
2. Post your card somewhere accessible on the Internet.
3. Link to your card using the InLinkz button on the Thanksgiving Page. If you link to your blog, please make double-darn sure you link to the individual post and not your blog's main page.
4. Enter as many times as you like.
5. Have fun and be grateful!!!!
I hope you will join me in rescuing Thanksgiving from the end-caps.