Opinion By: Edwin L. Crammer CPA Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving. Why? Because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is a day that is unencumbered by religious obligations. It is a holiday where we do not celebrate a recent or past sad event such as a remembrance for a major event that caused death or destruction. It is a happy holiday. You might say that Valentine’s day is a happy holiday. Yes it is, but people do not usually take a day off from work for Valentine’s day.
Sure, Thanksgiving day is a celebration of the first Thanksgiving celebration by the pilgrims who journeyed to America many years ago under perilous conditions. But really how many of us sit down to our Thanksgiving feast and raise a toast to those pioneers who started this whole thing.
Thanksgiving is a day to sit down and relax, enjoy a good meal that your spouse with your aid, well sometimes, has slaved over for the last four hours., In most families everyone in attendance contributes something towards the meal. It is a time to sit down with your family and friends and reminisce about the good times in the past. After dinner it is time to sit down and watch one of the two football games being shown that afternoon. Relaxation is the key word for the day .
Every year, I like to start my Thanksgiving day by sitting down at the television and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade. Yes, even at my age I look forward each year to the Annual presentation from Herald Square in New York. In fact, I have watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade every year except one, since my parents first purchased their first television set in 1952. One of the items on my bucket list is to attend the parade in person and sit in the bleachers at the end of the parade route. If there is anyone from Macy’s that reads this article, it would be nice to see what you can do to get me and wife in those bleachers for next year’s parade. I will even write about my experience in next years column.
For the first five or six years of my marriage, I would spend Thanksgiving with my wife’s extended family which was quite large, enjoying dinner at the Tavern on the Green in New York’s Central Park. The restaurant would open up a large table for the family which consisted of over 30 individuals and treated us to a good time. But over the years as the families grew by the addition of children and grandchildren to the group, it became too unwieldy to manage so we broke up into individual family segments and from then on we celebrated the holiday each year as a family group.
Unlike many retirees who have moved to Florida after their children grew up and made lives for themselves up North, I was lucky. My wife and I moved to Florida when my children were young, My children grew up in Florida and have made their home here and raised their families in Florida. I see and talk to older folks who have moved to Florida at a later age. They do not have the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with their families.
It is especially sad that with the large number of widows living down here who had moved to Florida to enjoy their retirement years, but whose husbands had passed away having to spend Thanksgiving alone or with one or two of their friends who are also widows.
Then there is what has come to be known as Black Friday, which is rapidly changing to Black Thursday as the retail stores start their Christmas shopping season earlier and earlier each year. I believe that many of the people who wait in front of their favorite stores for hours prior to their Black Friday opening are there not so much for the bargains, but for the thrill of beating someone out in their ability to purchase one of those advertised items that are listed for a ridiculous price. It has turned into a competition. It is the same mindset as the people who camp out at an Apple store in order to be one of the first to purchase their latest offering.
Overall, I believe that Thanksgiving signals the beginning of a four or five week period when people are more relaxed and in a more friendly mode before we go back to our normal way of life.
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