Tonawanda News

November 27, 2013

When a holiday isn't a holiday

The Editorial Board
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — When is enough enough? When can we just take a day off from all the commercials, all the sales, all the midnight lines wrapping around big boxes and just be thankful for what we have?

That’s what we’ve found ourselves wondering in the days leading up to this Thanksgiving, with retailers announcing earlier and earlier starts to their holiday sales — and earlier and earlier times for their stores to open.

First it was 4 a.m. Friday. Then it was midnight. Now it’s the dinner hour on Thanksgiving, for heaven’s sake. When will we stop calling it Thanksgiving and skip straight to Black Thursday?

Fairly soon holidays aren’t going to be a holiday at all for millions of Americans who already put up with overzealous shoppers for a month leading up to Christmas.

We understand the need to make money. This is a capitalist society, after all. But can’t the invisible hand take one day off to pat itself on the back?

Of course, retail workers aren’t any different or more deserving of a day off than, say, a police officer, a firefighter, an NFL football player in Dallas or Detroit or (dare we suggest) a newspaper reporter, photographer or editor. The truth is lots of people work holidays habitually and find a way around it. You eat dinner at noon. Or 10 p.m. Or, if you’re really in a bind, there’s the leftovers in the fridge.

For those of us who have worked holidays our whole lives it’s a fact of life and, if you’re committed to your profession, a sacrifice you make to enjoy all the other days of the year when work doesn’t feel like a chore.

But the more people who have to work a holiday, the less it feels like a holiday for any of us. 

Doesn’t the idea of digesting your turkey sitting outside Walmart just warm your soul? Doesn’t the cheap flat screen television at Best Buy make you want to give more back?

Of course it doesn’t. That spirit comes to us when we’re at rest, content to spend some all-too-rare free time with friends and loved ones.

We would be better served, as a society, to take a little time off — no matter where you work.

That would make the holidays a little brighter.