By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine
Every seven years, or so, Thanksgiving falls "late" in November, just like this year, leaving only three shopping weekends before Christmas.
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, began on November 27 and ends on Thursday, December 5th. For the first time since 1888, it falls during Thanksgiving and has been called by some, "Thanksgivingukkah." This will not occur again for almost another 78,000 years. Hanukkah, normally is celebrated around the time of Christmas or slightly earlier but usually not this early.
Because of these dates in 2013, retail folks have been thrown into a panic mode, worried about a lost weekend of sales. I can't remember a time when Christmas holiday sales, ad campaigns, and staged "panic shopping" started before Halloween. Retailers are desperately wanting us to focus on coming to their establishments to shop and buy them out before the turkey is even put in the oven. Let the "Thanksgrabbing" begin?
Whoa, Nelly the whole reason we have the holiday of Thanksgiving is to allow us to join together, reflect on our bounty, and celebrate with family and friends. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it as a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens," in 1863.
We really owe Thanksgiving being a holiday to the writer, Sarah Josepha Buell Hale, author of the nursery rhyme, "Mary Had a Little Lamb." She began a vigorous and methodical campaign that lasted 17 years to officially establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. Previously, it was celebrated only in New England and was largely unknown in the South and West.
So, thank you author, Sarah Josepha Buell Hale. Although we are writers in very different centuries, I appreciate and will celebrate Thanksgiving due to your steadfast efforts. I will reflect and enjoy the day you envisioned for our nation. Today, with family and friends, we will raise a glass in toast to your brilliant dream for our nation and give thanks for our many blessings and say, "Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!"