Notice I use the word "consumerized" and not commercialized. The latter speaks to the marketing of the holidays, but doesn't really take into account who retailers are marketing to.
As individual people we are not considered. We fall into this or that demographic. Age. Income level. Education achieved. Needs. Wants. Desired status. Anything and everything to define us as consumers.
At every turn, we are exploited for the monetary benefit of someone else. A select few. We've been brainwashed into believing we aren't complete unless we get more. We've lost our ability to be happy with what we have.
So how can we break from the learned behaviour of getting and supposedly needing more, to appreciating what we already have?
Here are 3 ways to bring the thanks back into Thanksgiving:
1. Have everyone in attendance write a "sugar cube" to each person visiting for Thanksgiving. A "sugar cube" is a short note expressing something nice and/or special about a person. Cut up little pieces of paper and have several pens or pencils on hand. Set up individual envelopes for each person to collect their sugar cube. Make it an activity to decorate the envelopes. Supply small children with markers, crayons, art supplies, etc.
2. Put everyone's name in large print on a long piece of paper. Next to their name, give them a job to do (i.e. serve the peas, cut the cornbread, mash the potatoes, take pictures, fill water glasses...anything related to before, during and after dinner). Post it in a prominent place so everyone can see what their responsibility is. Or put the jobs in a job jar and get the guests to pick one blindly. Just make it fun.
3. Have each person at the dinner table express one thing they are grateful for.
Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful. But we are oftentimes so busy being consumers that we forget to find gratitude in our lives. Bring back the thanks in Thanksgiving by making one or all three of these a tradition.
Do you have a family tradition that helps to bring your family closer during the holidays?