This is a time to give thanks, not worry about shopping

It's a sobering reality that many people have come to associate Thanksgiving with shopping and Black Friday rather than regarding it as a day to halt the acquisition of more material possessions and give thanks for what they already have.

The media, retailers, and consumers themselves are all to blame. I've lost count of the many news reports I've seen in which people begin to form lines outside of stores at the beginning of the week in anticipation of Black Friday.

It's unfortunate that Black Friday has to be the day that immediately follows Thanksgiving. Why couldn't it have been, say, the Saturday after the holiday, or even the following weekend?

It's utterly shameful that consumerism often overshadows the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Many people are more caught up with getting the best deals on computers and TVs than looking forward to spending time with friends and family.

Let's not forget this: Unlike those whom we love, material goods can be replaced easily. And they surely won't be there for you when times get rough.

Thanksgiving allows us to appreciate the things and people in life that really matter. Taking leisurely walks around the park with your spouse, seeing your son score the winning run at his baseball game, helping animals and the less fortunate. It's these moments and causes that should be on people's minds this time of year -- not scoring the best bargains. That can wait.

Those we love won't be around forever. People change through the passage of time --physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The holidays are a time to give -- love, affection, and a helping hand wherever it's needed -- not receive. It's just a shame that notion has been lost on far too many people.

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