Sunday, September 6, 2015

Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge 2015

Welcome to the 2015 Thanksgiving Crusade!

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 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.


Not one.

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!

I'm going to kick off my Thanksgiving Crusade Challenge with the two following cards using the First Fruits set from Papertrey Ink (which is now in the vault).

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. 


  1. Fabulous!!! Full heartedly agree with you! Being thankful is where life is at. Have you read Ann Voskamp's book 1000 Gifts? All about being thankful - three a day gives you 1000 in a year and your own collection of 1000 gifts :)

    1. Yes, I'm a big fan of Voskamp's 1,ooo Gifts, and her Advent study! Thanks for mentioning it here, Marisa. Perhaps others will seek it out. Good stuff.

  2. Thank you for sharing this post. Here in England we are fast following your lead.... halloween is becoming a commercial enterprise. I was pleased when my sil said he would not be allowing my grandson to trick or treat when he is older. He will not have a child of his begging.... I am grateful that he thinks that! I will celebrate being Thankful and join your Crusade.

    1. Well, I'm not opposed to trick-or-treating, just to the huge big deal it's become commercially. It's a distraction and money pit, now, instead of a single night of fun.

  3. Thank you for sharing this post. Here in England we are fast following your lead.... halloween is becoming a commercial enterprise. I was pleased when my sil said he would not be allowing my grandson to trick or treat when he is older. He will not have a child of his begging.... I am grateful that he thinks that! I will celebrate being Thankful and join your Crusade.

  4. We don't have Thanksgiving here, but I do like the idea of gratitude and thankfulness. I will need to find some time to sit down and write some "thank-you" cards.

  5. I love that you do this Susan ... it reminds me to send thank you cards! It is amazing how much we need reminding.

  6. Replies
    1. CAS = Clean and that have minimal layers or embellishments, like mine!

  7. Yes, yes, yes gratitude and appreciation are so important to a meaningful life. I will be participating in your crusade to save Thanksgiving and to practice gratitude every day. Thank you, Susan

  8. BRAVO!!! You said exactly what needs to be said! It's time to put the "Thankful" back into Thanksgiving by being appreciative for what SUSTAINS life!

  9. Nicely said! We don't do thanksgiving here in New Zealand (and of course we're starting spring), but i'm thinking i could start a family tradition. Being thankful that winter is over would be a good start! Cheers, Juliet.

  10. I love your idea, Susan! We often forget to thank those around us verbally, let alone in the form of a card. It will do so much for both the giver and receiever. Thanks for the idea!

  11. Well said, Susan, and I agree with you 100%. It's so sad to see how many are ungrateful these days and don't bother even saying thanks let alone writing a note. In this day and age, there is NO excuse for not showing thanks via email, text, or phone call, if not so inclined to write a note. Plan to participate in your challenge and thanks for putting the word out.

  12. Hello,
    yes, I have who to thank! So many people joined to share a fundraiser for my brother suffering from lung cancer. I would like to thank all of them, but some people are for me anonymous. So the challenge is ideal for this to thank everyone. For sure it will.
    Well, thank you, Susan, for such a possibility.

  13. I love this idea! I might even use some of my leaf stamps, or maybe a cartoon turkey. Great challenge!

    FYI: I think it was last year a popular home crafts and decor magazine skipped from Halloween to Christmas. So Sad.

    Also, FYI: Chanukah is a minor holiday, and I'm not insulted by an end-cap. It's only commercial because of how commercial Christmas has become.

  14. I just want to say thanks to you mf. You were so the person who inspired me along the way to finding my 'style' in cardmaking. My life is so crazy busy and so cluttered at times that I find peace in creating simple.

    1. Aww, you're so sweet, Karen. I, too, find peace in creating simple...some people don't get that. I do love your colorful CAS style!

  15. Fantastic challenge idea! Your CAS cards always inspire me :D THANKS!

  16. Thanks for this post, I accept you challenge and have passed it on to my stamp club members to encourage them to do the same.

  17. Love this idea. Thanksgiving Day and being thankful all year long is a pretty big deal with me. Will be entering a few cards.


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