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Jill Murphy: Holiday haste, what a waste

Leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping and the stores are all decked out for Christmas. That can only mean one thing: Thanksgiving is coming.
I am still amazed at how Thanksgiving is almost completely overlooked by retailers. One day I walked into a store and Halloween paraphernalia was everywhere. The next day, Halloween was over, Christmas decorations and gifts were everywhere and there was nary a turkey in sight.
What happened to Thanksgiving?
It used to be a pretty big holiday when I was growing up. There were lots of Thanksgiving items to be found: cute little pilgrims, perhaps, or a festive turkey or two, maybe even a cornucopia to use as a centerpiece for the big day.
And stores were closed for this holiday as they were for all big holidays. There was never even a thought of being open as stores are starting to do now.
It was such a gradual thing. I didn't even realize it was happening. Black Friday shopping used to be early openings at 4 or 5 a.m. Then all of sudden it was midnight openings at some retailers. Before I knew it, stores were opening on Thanksgiving without much fanfare about the holiday we were losing.
I am happy to see people trying to stop the Thanksgiving Day sales, but for most, the good deal will win out over the preservation of a day that used to be set aside for time with family and friends.
With all the things that I see changing for the worse on Thanksgiving, some good things do stay the same. Watching football is still a big turkey day tradition, and one in which my family enthusiastically participates. A wonderful dinner with lots of good food is another staple that seems to still be enjoyed in most homes.
There is a new tradition that I saw begin on the social media site Facebook a couple of years ago that I really like. People start listing things they are grateful for, one a day, on their Facebook pages beginning Nov. 1 and going through Thanksgiving Day.
I actually did a column about this a couple of years ago and it was one of my favorites. I love the idea of focusing on being thankful for the whole month. And what a prelude to Christmas, which is sadly becoming a consumer holiday all about getting instead of giving. Changing our mindset in November could have the added bonus of giving us a new attitude for December.
I could easily list 30 things which I am thankful for, but my column is only so long so I will stop with just five.
I am grateful for my husband Sean. We have been married for 19 years, four kids, two houses, two cats, three guinea pigs and one dog. He is my best friend, my partner in the craziness we call life and I am blessed to call him mine.
I am grateful for my crazy, chaotic house full of kids. My amazing, ambitious, driven, beautiful first-born Keeley, who will leave a big hole in our family when she leaves for college next year. My wonderful, athletic, smart, handsome son Quinn, who seems to be leaving some of the terrible teens behind. I am truly grateful for that. For my middle child Owen. What a sweet, funny, sporty, joy-to-be-around guy he is. Everyone enjoys being with him. And for my youngest, Brenna. A challenging, confident, social, giving, kind, gorgeous girl, she is my mini-me. I just know she is going to grow up to be an amazing person.
Maybe this is how we can bring Thanksgiving back - by having an attitude of gratitude that will allow us to stop and reflect on how good life really is, no matter what the circumstances may be. Now that would really be a reason to be thankful.

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