"Respect the Bird"

A Defense for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is under assault.

Stores that once closed their doors in deference to the holiday are now touting Turkey Day deals starting as early as 9 p.m. Workers who should be on vacation are answering office e-mails on their smartphones. And those who plan on celebrating with a traditional dinner are finding that the cost of a bird is near its 30-year high, according to government data.

“I think we have a sort of Norman Rockwell view of Thanksgiving,” said Kit Yarrow, head of the psychology department at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. “It’s not really linked to reality for most Americans.”

Thanksgiving has long been in danger of getting subsumed by Christmas. Every year, Americans bemoan the encroachment of pine trees and presents on pilgrims and pumpkin pie, a phenomenon the retail industry calls “Christmas creep.” But for many, a line seems to have been crossed.

Don't even get me started on Christmas Creep. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah. It seems to have gotten much, much worse in the past 15 years or so. I remember when I was a little kid, it didn't seem like Christmas really kicked off until the day after Thanksgiving, or until the month of December even. Now, stores start rolling out the Christmas crap before Halloween is even over. It drives me absolutely up the wall. I want to celebrate Halloween in October, Thanksgiving/Fall/Harvest Time in November, and Christmas in December. Is that too much too ask? We don't celebrate the Fourth of July in April, or Memorial Day in March.

Not to mention, working in retail? They always play Christmas music over the speakers. Now, I love Christmas music - LOVE IT! - but there's really only about 40 different Christmas songs out there, if that, so they're just playing the same songs over and over and OVER again, until my brain starts melting out of my ears, for TWO MONTHS STRAIGHT. It's like torture really. When it's a month of Christmas music, it's totally jolly and awesome. Two months? That's total overkill.

Back to that article: A woman who has had to work every Thanksgiving for the past 5 years mentioned something like, "Everyone who came into the store said 'I can't believe you're open!' Well, if you didn't shop here on Thanksgiving, we wouldn't have to be". Stores are doing this ridiculous opening at 10pm on Thanksgiving because some consumers - who apparently have no soul - are demanding it. These people, I guess, don't care that the employees who actually have to run the store are totally going to miss out on Thanksgiving with their families. Nice.

Another thing in the article:
An annual informal price survey by the American Farm Bureau Association, a trade group, found that the average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 — turkey, stuffing, relish, peas, the works — jumped 13 percent to $49.20. Although the price per person is less than many fast-food dinners, the cost increases are hitting consumers when few are giving thanks for the state of the economy.

Dude, $50 for a Thanksgiving dinner for 10? What kind of dinner is this?!? Doesn't a decent turkey alone cost like $20 - 30? I dunno, I should know this, because I totally rang up a billion turkeys at Harris Teeter during my 5 years there. But, it's been awhile, and I've forgotten. It's amazing how fast useless information leaves your head.
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I can't even make all the desserts and a side dish for $50 these days let alone a meal for 10 people. Are they nuts? And I only have to do this for four or five people. I want to shop where they're shopping.

I'm sorry about the Christmas Creep while you're stuck in retail. If it makes you happy, I never have money to actually do any shopping on black Friday. Plus most years I have to be out a tree lot with Boy Scouts.
Yeah, unless you're super resourceful and buying in mega-bulk, I just don't see being able to feed 10 people on $50. Especially not fancy Thanksgiving foods.

I avoid stores like the plague on Black Friday, even if I do have money. ;)
Honestly? We've never spent that much money on T-giving. Our turkey this year was something like $15 and we just have a couple of sides, which isn't too bad, and a salad and cake. Maybe, $35 tops.

Of course, we aren't feeding ten people, either, but when we did have a big crowd for dinner, it was a pitch-in.
If you can do it, more power to you! I'm a horrible shopper - I always seem to be attracted to the most expensive stuff on the shelf. Not so good when you're broke as all get out. I'm like that old saying about champagne tastes on a beer budget.
I like quality for the big things, like the turkey and fresh veggies. But, the dressing? Cheapest bread we can find. We already have seasonings in stock. No desserts from scratch. I'm not a hardcore budget shopper, but I know how to cut a corner or two!
Same here. I bought a 5lb turkey breast for $8 yesterday, and with just 3 of us, there will be a ton of left-overs. For three I bought 50 cents of sweet potatoes, $1.50 of green beans, $1.50 loaf of bread, $1 of celery, $1 of onion, $2 lettuce. And of course I'll be pulling stuff from the pantry so that part adds up too, but no more than a normal dinner. I think I could do dinner for 10 for $50, but it really helps if (A) you are making most everything from scratch and (B) you are not using a lot of expensive stuff like butter, cream, nuts and orangic everything. Last year I had a friend tell me she used 16 sticks of butter for Thanksgiving dinner at her house, and that'll cost you as much as a good sized turkey right there! RE: Christmas Creep, I always feel terrible for the employees, especially all those people stuck at the super markets all day on Thanskgiving. I used to really hate seeing all the Christmas stuff hit the stores early, but now that I have a little one, I must say it's actually helpful. I have so little time to shop now that I really do need to start 2 months early to get it all done and off in the mail in time to get to all our relatives, who are all spread out across the country. Once Halloween hits, the panic starts to set in. But if they could hold off on the music, that would be great. And I'm still not putting up the tree more than a week in advance!
but it really helps if (A) you are making most everything from scratch and (B) you are not using a lot of expensive stuff like butter, cream, nuts and orangic everything

Yeah, but I don't think that's generally what most people are doing for a big holiday like Thanksgiving - they're probably buying stuff specifically for this holiday, and the good stuff. Well, I'll speak for myself - I would be buying the good stuff. I know when I worked at Harris Teeter in the week leading up to Thanksgiving, it wasn't unusual to be ringing up cart after cart of $400 worth of groceries for customers. The median was probably about $200.

See, I can understand wanting to do the Christmas shopping early, two months in advance. Definitely. But why do we have to put out the decorations and the carols so freaking early? That drives me up the wall.

buying stuff specifically for this holiday, and the good stuff.

Yeah, you're right, I think most people do feel the urge to splurge more strongly than I do. I kinda have to be that way these days, but I think I would anyway, it's just my nature. I think it's what happens when you're raised by one parent who grew up during the Great Depression and another who grew up in Post-WWII France. And if you are making the conscious decision to splurge on a special occasion, sure, why not if you can? But I actually find it comforting to know that you can still have a nice holiday, even if you can't afford to spend $400 on groceries.

This is my first year ever working Black Friday in retail. I work online, so at least I don't have to go in at 4am to some store, but I am nonetheless terrified.
It's not just people in retail who work on Thanksgiving. My Mother (who is a nurse) has always worked on Thanksgiving. This year is no exception. I think the only time she actually managed to take Thanksgiving off was 5 years ago when she came to visit me at my new apartment here in WI.