Just shy of a year ago, my extremely talented and wonderfully witty colleague Jackie Stark wrote a column imploring people and businesses to not trample on Thanksgiving by making it a day for shopping instead of a day for family.
Her column hit the nail squarely on the head: "It's a travesty, but the simplest way to combat the encroachment of Black Friday on our Thanksgiving holiday is to simply not go and (to) wait for Friday morning."
My plea today adds something else: Let's not let the entire month of November be co-opted by Christmas, leaving Thanksgiving at best an afterthought or at worst, completely ignored.
Because it's not just Black Friday pushing on Thanksgiving's celebration. It's the Christmas rush being overwhelmingly shoved into our collective consciousness.
Before Halloween, reminders about lawaways and the like begin in earnest. There was a television commercial this year that made the point. In the ad, people answering their doors on Halloween saw carolers rather than trick-or-treaters.
Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. LOVE IT. As a child, I would get so excited for it, I would literally make myself throwing-up sick. As a grown-up, the peace and joy that Christmas tries to bring matter to me a great deal because I am a staunch proponent of peace on earth and joy to the world.
And I am not saying to not deck your halls early. It's your electric bill, not mine, so if you want to try to out-light the rest of the neighborhood, have at it, even if you haven't put your Halloween decor away.
Certainly I realize many people need to get their Christmas shopping done early in order to get gifts shipped to faraway friends and family.
My wish is this November shopping be done as much as possible at local businesses, which helps those businesses stay open and brings a touch of the Upper Peninsula to the gifts you give. Heck, my wish is that gift-buyers shop locally 12 months a year.
All that being said, I do not want Thanksgiving to become a footnote. It should not be forgotten.
Part of what we should remember each Thanksgiving season is what the arrival of the first European settlers did to the native people already living in what is now the United States.
The Native American perspective on Thanksgiving is understandably a different one from the Puritan tradition taught to generations of schoolchildren.
We all should remember the destruction and despair many Native Americans experienced by the influx of those seeking religious freedom who in turn stomped on the rights of others in the process.
This is why to me, more than just the acknowledgement of what we know now as a troubled time in American history, Thanksgiving should be a day we are truly grateful for what we have today. It should be a time when those of us lucky enough to have the day off from work reflect on our blessings.
If we're among the truly fortunate, those blessings include our loved ones at our table, sharing dinner with us, celebrating another year lived. It should be a day of togetherness.
We should plan our Thanksgiving with hearts of gratitude, not as though it's a pesky obligation to be met before we get back to the Christmas celebration.
Christmas is indeed on its way but we can keep Thanksgiving from being lost in the rush. All in due time, my friends, all in due time.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.