Did the ‘Grinch’ steal Thanksgiving?

Published 8:44 pm Friday, December 1, 2023

In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, as well as those during and after the holiday, comments around how circumstances, both worldwide and closer to home, are impacting people’s ability to feel and express gratitude.

One might be tempted to ask, “Did the ‘Grinch’ steal Thanksgiving this year?”

Citizens in the tri-county area are keenly aware of world conflicts impacting the peace expected with the onset of the holiday season. As world leaders keep their eyes on the conflict in Israel, and military personnel ready themselves for the possibility of deployment to enter the fray, families can feel a sense of uncertainty, wondering what may loom in the days ahead.

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Many local residents have commented on inflation and how the rising cost of food has affected holiday celebrations. And, as outreach ministries and organizations redouble efforts to provide a holiday meal to families in need, it may seem a struggle to some seeking to prepare the traditional turkey, ham or roast beast.

On Black Friday, some shoppers observed fewer sales, remarking on the scarcity of “deep discounts” many had come to expect. One local shopper told me a popular big box store which experienced record-breaking crowds of shoppers in the early-morning hours of previous Black Friday events, was like a ghost town where few appeared for special sales and almost no one stood in lines to grab high-demand gift items.

However, even with the high cost of holiday food items, the lack of shopping specials, and the threat of a military conflict hovering close by, I noticed that families still found ways to celebrate and give thanks for their blessings.

For some, that meant changing the menu a little, or sharing a meal with others. For our family, it meant gathering with extended family where the selection of delectable treats did not disappoint, and the fellowship was even more savory and sweet than the meal.

Many did brave Black Friday shopping. Some did this at home and online. Others visited local “mom and pop” stores instead of major big box resellers. A few opted to wait for other sales, like Cyber Monday, when they can look for sales on items not available cheaper on Black Friday.

One single father I know gave up his traditional extended family Thanksgiving gathering to take his grandchildren on a visit to see their father and celebrate the holiday with him where he lives – at a drug rehabilitation center. The day looked a little less traditional for that father and his family but was no less special for the change.

Many have written and commented on what they are thankful for this year. For me, it is an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for change, for the ability to feel and express gratitude even when things are a little less traditional than expected, and for the love of friends and family who find that the expression of love and time spent together mean far more than getting the best Black Friday discount.

We wish you a happy and blessed beginning to your holiday season and hope that this year you found the time even more special than ever before.