How Retailers Ruined Thanksgiving

Mark Skousen

Named one of the "Top 20 Living Economists," Dr. Skousen is a professional economist, investment expert, university professor, and author of more than 25 books.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The holiday season is upon us. Retailers have replaced “Merry Christmas” with the mundane and politically correct line “Happy Holidays.”

Worse, they have completely destroyed my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, with the dreaded materialistic “Black Friday” week of mindless shopping, followed by “Cyber Monday.” Ugh! Retailers don’t even use “Thanksgiving” anymore in their advertising. Everyone else greets one another with a smile, “Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.” Store executives go around and say, “Have a Black Friday!” Shame!

Thanksgiving had a grand tradition until the Keynesian consumer society took over. This sacred holiday does not take place on a Monday, but on a Thursday, and is a wonderful time to get together with friends and family to celebrate and thank God for our peace, prosperity and liberty in this great country. And for those who subscribe to Forecasts & Strategies, we can be grateful for another successful year, despite the recent market pullback.

Sadly, the retailers and Wall Street have taken over Thanksgiving and Christmas and replaced them with never-ending shopping, where people buy a lot of stuff and give away gifts that they don’t need or want. Meanwhile, our streets, bridges and infrastructure deteriorate every year. We are chronically saving too little and spending too much. Our lives are out of balance.

I remember a few years ago the retail store Sears decided to stay open on Thanksgiving. It serves its management right to go bankrupt.

Black Friday used to refer to a stock market crash. Wouldn’t it serve retailers right to see consumers boycott sales starting on Friday? Let them have their own crash!

I’m no Scrooge. I love the holidays and the Christmas spirit. But our society has lost the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

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The First Thanksgiving: Not a Day of Fasting, But a Grand Feast!

Did you know that the day we celebrate as Thanksgiving was originally supposed to be a day of fasting?

It took one politically incorrect farmer to change the course of history. When the government tried to impose a fast, Ben Franklin called for a grand feast — thanksgiving — so that Americans could celebrate their bounty and nourish their bodies, not lament their hardships through hunger.

Founding father Franklin’s tale of the first Thanksgiving is revealed in “The Completed Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin,” which I edited as a direct descendant of the great statesman and inventor.

“The Completed Autobiography” takes up where Franklin’s original autobiography left off — in 1757. This new volume covers Franklin’s final 33 years, including some of the most important in our nation’s history.

“The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving,” as told by Franklin himself (read below), is just one of the many topics covered in “The Completed Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin.”

________________________________________
The Real Story of the First Thanksgiving
By Benjamin Franklin (1785)

“There is a tradition that in the planting of New England, the first settlers met with many difficulties and hardships, as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt to establish themselves in a wilderness country. Being so piously disposed, they sought relief from heaven by laying their wants and distresses before the Lord in frequent set days of fasting and prayer. Constant meditation and discourse on these subjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented, and like the children of Israel there were many disposed to return to the Egypt which persecution had induced them to abandon.

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“At length, when it was proposed in the Assembly to proclaim another fast, a farmer of plain sense rose and remarked that the inconveniences they suffered, and concerning which they had so often wearied heaven with their complaints, were not so great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony strengthened; that the earth began to reward their labour and furnish liberally for their subsistence; that their seas and rivers were full of fish, the air sweet, the climate healthy, and above all, they were in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious.

“He therefore thought that reflecting and conversing on these subjects would be more comfortable and lead more to make them contented with their situation; and that it would be more becoming the gratitude they owed to the divine being, if instead of a fast they should proclaim a thanksgiving. His advice was taken, and from that day to this, they have in every year observed circumstances of public felicity sufficient to furnish employment for a Thanksgiving Day, which is therefore constantly ordered and religiously observed.”
————–

Both the Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin (vol. 1, 1706-1757, paperback) and “The Completed Autobiography” (vol. 2, 1757-1790, paperback) are available for $35 postpaid by calling Harold at Ensign Publishing, toll-free 1-866-254-2057.

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