Meet our guest contributor, Jeems Aker, retired CIA officer, and friend of AIR.
“O Lord that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.”
“I never met a bitter person who was thankful. Or a thankful person who was bitter.”
Even in times of self-quarantine, time just seems to fly by. We are quickly approaching my two favorite holidays of the year: Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is one of the signs of the times, I suppose, that some stores have raced past Thanksgiving and their store aisles are filled with potential Christmas gifts. Critics see this as yet another indicator that we are living in an age of unbridled commercialism. At the same time, apologists will point to the pressures on retail stores by the twin forces of the pandemic and on-line shopping that has resulted—in the words of some commentators—a “retail apocalypse” in our country (more than 8,300 stores have closed in 2020 alone). Profit margins for some retail establishments have become so slim, so the logic goes, that stores are forced to extend the retail shopping season for the Christmas holidays. Plainly and simply, many (if not most) merchants and stores must turn a profit over the Christmas season to survive.
Perhaps it’s worth telling millennials that it wasn’t always this way. Remember the days when stores and malls (remember them?) waited until after Thanksgiving Day before launching into the Christmas frenzy? Remember when “Black Friday” shopping days involved only a handful of stores and actually waited until the early morning hours after Thanksgiving? Remember when there was only one televised pro football game on Thanksgiving? (Always featuring the Detroit Lions.) Remember when televised Christmas specials waited until after the Thanksgiving holiday? (Now my wife watches Hallmark Christmas movies in June.)
Those days—like pre-pandemic memories—are gone forever.