Harold Fox: Wisdom On Holidays

When I was a kid stores were mainly closed Sunday and holidays. I remember family panic one year when my father forgot to fill the tank before heading out on Christmas. Quaint.

Walmart isn’t waiting for Black Friday. They’ll be open Thanksgiving night at 10:00 PM. That change of business hours is national news.

Helaine saw a billboard proclaiming one of the I-95 outlets will also be open Thanksgiving night. It’s officially a trend.

Maybe I’m the wrong guy to write this. I’ve never gotten up in the middle of the night to get a Black Friday deal (and stomp over my fellow shoppers). I’ve usually worked on Thanksgiving myself.

It’s still troubling.

When I was a kid stores were mainly closed Sunday and holidays. I remember family panic one year when my father forgot to fill the tank before heading out on Christmas. Quaint.

My father worked in retail back then. He sold appliances. The stores he worked in were closed Sundays and holidays, but he saw the trend.

“If you don’t want to work Sundays,” he once said, “don’t shop Sundays!”

Do you want to work on Thanksgiving?

10 thoughts on “Harold Fox: Wisdom On Holidays”

  1. Your Dad is a smart guy, Geoff. But, then, you knew that already. A friend sent me this email recently:

    Holiday season 2011 — Birth of a New Tradition

    As the holidays approach, the giant foreign factories are kicking into high
    gear to provide Americans with monstrous piles of cheaply produced goods —
    merchandise that has been produced at the expense of American labor. This
    year will be different. This year Americans will give the gift of genuine
    concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift
    giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes
    there is!

    It’s time to think outside the box, people. Who says a gift needs to fit in
    a shirt box, wrapped in foreign produced wrapping paper?
    Everyone — yes EVERYONE gets their hair cut. How about gift certificates
    from your local American hair salon or barber?

    Gym membership? It’s appropriate for all ages who are thinking about some
    health improvement.

    Who wouldn’t appreciate getting their car detailed? Small, American owned
    detail shops and car washes would love to sell you a gift certificate or a
    book of gift certificates.

    Are you one of those extravagant givers who think nothing of plonking down
    the Benjamines on a foreign made flat-screen? Perhaps that grateful gift
    receiver would like his driveway sealed, or lawn mowed for the summer, or
    driveway plowed all winter, or games at the local golf course.

    There are a bazillion owner-run restaurants — all offering gift
    certificates. And, if your intended isn’t the fancy eatery sort, what about
    a half dozen breakfasts at the local breakfast joint. Remember, folks this
    isn’t about big National chains — this is about supporting your home town
    Americans with their financial lives on the line to keep their doors open.

    How many people couldn’t use an oil change for their car, truck or
    motorcycle, done at a shop run by the American working guy?

    Thinking about a heartfelt gift for mom? Mom would LOVE the services of a
    local cleaning lady for a day.

    My computer could use a tune-up, and I KNOW I can find some young guy who is
    struggling to get his repair business up and running.

    OK, you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin
    their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery
    and beautiful wooden boxes.

    Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave
    your server a nice tip. And, how about going out to see a play or ballet at
    your hometown theatre.

    Musicians need love too, so find a venue showcasing local bands.

    Honestly, people, do you REALLY need to buy another ten thousand foreign lights for the house? When you buy a five dollar string of light, about
    fifty cents stays in the community. If you have those kinds of bucks to
    burn, leave the mailman, trash guy or babysitter a nice BIG tip.

    You see, Christmas is no longer about draining American pockets so that
    foreigners can build another glittering city. Christmas is now about caring about
    US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow
    their dreams. And, when we care about other Americans, we care about our
    communities, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn’t imagine.
    THIS is the new American Christmas tradition.
    Forward this to everyone on your mailing list — post it to discussion
    groups — throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in
    your city — send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations,
    and TV news departments. This is a revolution of caring about each other,
    and isn’t that what Christmas is about?

  2. MXManners I like the way you think! I’m going to have to print that out for my holiday shopping!

    I do not want to work on Thanksgiving nor will I be shopping on that day, that night or even the next day.

    I too remember everything being closed on Sundays and holidays. I enjoyed seeing everything dark and deserted when heading out to the relatives’ house. Spooky ghost town feeling!

  3. I used to work for Walmart. In my 6 years and 10 months there, they took away Easter and Thanksgiving, days in which they were formerly closed. What a bunch of greedy @#$%^&*() !

  4. The holiday hype gets worse every year. Who on this planet is insane enough to go shopping in the middle of the night or at the butt-crack of dawn? It’s consumerism and corporate greed at their very worst. Fortunately the Recession has axed my holiday shopping for the past three years. I don’t miss it in the least. For what little I do buy (at any time of the year), I take my cue from the first poster.

  5. To MXManners. I am going to take your note and put it on facebook. i am so tired of the “Holiday” garbage that i dread this time of year. I would hibernate if i could and wake up December 26th.

  6. The consumerism makes me crazy. I shop all year for those ‘special gifts’ that my loved ones would like… not the latest craze, but something they can use and is affordable. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas shopping during December, but at a leisurely pace and drinking in the sounds and sights of the ‘holiday’ decor. The frenzy of ‘Black Friday’ is ridiculous. The secular part of Christmas, which includes celebrations with family and friends can be so overshadowed by the greed and consumerism. Sorry for the rant, people… enjoy this beautiful month of November and have a Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  7. I totally agree with MX what a wonderful list of great ideas! I’m printing it out and posting it in my library and on FB and everywhere I can think of…I also abhor the idea of stores being open on Thanksgiving and the IDIOTS who partake in the craziness of “Black Friday” I agree with the person who said she wished she could hibernate and wake up on the 26th of Dec. when most craziness is done with except for the returns. What a way to spoil a once solemn, beautiful season 🙁

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