Baumgardner: Christmas can wait, let's give thanks with family Thursday

Baumgardner: Christmas can wait, let's give thanks with family Thursday

November 18th, 2012 by By Julie Baumgardner in Life Entertainment

Many around the Thanksgiving table will barely have time to finish their last bite of dessert before stores start opening and everyone rushes out to find the best Christmas deals. However, in spite of the lure of making more money, one store will not be in that mix. For a number of years, Nordstrom has posted signs on its department store doors alerting customers to the fact that it won't be decking its halls until Friday.

Why? Because it likes celebrating one holiday at a time.

Now there's a concept. Does anybody remember when Christmas decorations didn't come out until after Thanksgiving, when stores opened Friday and families actually took the time to celebrate Thanksgiving?

Somewhere along the way, Thanksgiving got hijacked by the commercialism of Christmas. Instead of people enjoying a leisurely Thanksgiving dinner with lots of laughter, sharing family stories from the past, football and good old-fashion naps, many will schedule their day and meal around store openings and Christmas deals.

Do you find it interesting that someone posted a picture of the Nordstrom flier on Facebook and it was shared more than 17,000 times in 24 hours? Believe it or not, the people sharing the post with their friends were not complaining. They were applauding Nordstrom for not giving in to the craziness.

While some may view stores opening on Black Friday Eve as a great gift and opportunity to get away from crazy relatives, others may want to push the pause button and ask themselves if they will really miss all the best deals if they wait until Friday morning.

With the busy schedules most people keep, perhaps there's something to be said for setting aside this day to give thanks and relax. If you are perplexed about what to do with the extra time you have on your hands, here are a few ideas.

Thanksgiving to-do list

* Walk as a family in the "Grateful Gobbler Walk" sponsored by the Chattanooga Homeless Coalition, then head home to start cooking and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

* During your Thanksgiving dinner, have family members share one reason they are thankful for each person at the table.

* Watch "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" together as a family.

* Use this time to sit down as a family and establish a new tradition for the holiday season.

* Write thank-you notes to people who have made a difference in your life.

* Set out a jigsaw puzzle for everybody to work on throughout the weekend.

* Post an "I Am Thankful for..." list on the refrigerator and ask everybody to contribute to it. Write each item from the list on colorful strips of paper and let your kids make a paper chain to decorate the table. Read the list at Thanksgiving dinner.

* Some may think these are old-fashioned ways of celebrating Thanksgiving. The truth is this really is a special day for our country and for families. Don't let the stores fool you. There is plenty of time to celebrate the Christmas season. Take this moment to savor what it truly means to be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Email Julie Baumgardner, president and executive director of First Things First, at