Thanksgiving Is Over, It’s On To Shopping!


Something About Nothing by Julie Seedorf published in the Albert Lea Tribune and the Courier Sentinel the week of November 27

shopping-2016Thanksgiving is over.

This year we hosted Thanksgiving. I managed to not burn the vegetables.

Actually, this year I had a hard time getting the corn done. It was a microwave error. My microwave is on its way out and it apparently didn’t like corn, because it wouldn’t even thaw it out.

Our turkey was cooked to perfection, and the new stuffing recipe I used with a few tweaks of my own wasn’t bad.

It has been a few years since I hosted my family for a holiday meal. We always travel to one of our kids’ homes, and who can argue with that, because I don’t have to clean and don’t have to cook. I think the kids got tired of burned vegetables, so they decided it was safer to host and not ask me to bring the vegetables.

In case you haven’t heard the story — I burn vegetables. I don’t like vegetables and watching them cook gets kind of boring in my creative mind, so I always find something else to do while they are cooking and kind of forget about them … until I smell the result. It is a tale my kids have passed down to my grandchildren. I forgot how much work goes into cooking for many people on Thanksgiving. It gave me an appreciation for those moms and dads that cook for their family every day.

Black Friday arrived and I didn’t have any newspapers to check out the ads, so I browsed the coupons I received in the mail. They were very tempting. Many stores gave free money up to $10 that you could use without buying anything else. I know myself — I would have spent more than the $10 certificate.

I am cutting back this year because of a cut back in my finances, so I purged the urge to shop and picked up a good book to read, taking a nap in between some paragraphs.

I don’t get too excited anymore about Black Friday sales or Cyber Monday sales. There is always a sale and unless there is something specific I am looking for, I don’t run out and join the lines since I have reached old age.

I remember before Black Friday was Black Friday. It was always just the Friday after Thanksgiving and I loved to join the shopping crowd. There was something energizing about all the people in the malls and stores. That was before shopper frenzy and shoppers hurting other shoppers trying to grab the golden sale that they wanted. It was a friendly tug of war.

One of the things we did one year with our son and his wife was get up at 4 a.m. to stand outside of Shopko in the lines to get the 6 a.m. specials. The kids had the list and told us what to grab. They then donated all the items to Toys for Tots or other organizations. I didn’t mind getting up early to do that.

A friend of mine always was in line at Dayton’s Department Store to get the Santa bear of the year. She and her daughters made it a tradition each year. After they got their Santa bear they spent the rest of the day together shopping and enjoying the season.

Now Santa bears are no more, and stores open on Thanksgiving, so there is no need to stand in line early in the morning in the cold anticipating the specials.

Of course we also have Cyber Monday, but it seems that is starting early, too, as the emails and ads online are bombarding consumers with the message to buy, buy, buy. It is hard to resist the call of those sparkly items when they come across your computer screen.

I am not in a family of shoppers, so even if I were interested in a shopping family outing I would be hard pressed to find a family member to go with me. My one granddaughter loves to shop, but she also loves to enjoy family time and I suspect she would pick that over shopping any day.

Maybe it is my age or maybe my finances that has brought me to my senses when it comes to shopping. Don’t get me wrong — we need to support our businesses, especially small businesses.

I find I buy more meaningful gifts if I take time and don’t get caught up in the frenzy of the sale. I find shopping is more about who I am with than the actual grabbing of the gold. I know it isn’t the glitzy gift that will be remembered but the time spent sharing and making memories.

The things I remember about Christmas aren’t the gifts I was given but the little things that had meaning during the holidays, such as baking Christmas cookies with my mom or going to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. I remember my mom and dad coming home with a box of gifts from the shoe store where they hid them and the anticipation of those gifts, not the actual gifts but the tradition of Dad coming home with them. I remember sitting down to supper on Christmas Eve and sharing a Polish tradition of wafers with my Polish grandmother and uncle.

Those are the golden gifts that are remembered, and all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales will never make those kind of memories.

“Christmas is not an external event at all, but a piece of one’s home that one carries in one’s heart.” — Freya Stark

Julie Seedorf’s column appears in the Tribune every Monday.

Help Me Write My Thanksgiving Column for Something About Nothing

Thankful by Nakeva

Thankful by Nakeva (Photo credit: Nakeva)

Column: Something About Nothing, by Julie Seedorf

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. I miss summer. Yes, those lazy, hazy days of summer are gone and, instead, we are rolling out the not lazy, hazy, crazy days of holidays.

We’ll sing of mistletoe and cheer. We will be making our list and checking it twice and, really, it doesn’t matter if the kids are naughty or nice, Grandma will buy them something anyway.

The real holiday frenzy started in some stores mid-summer, especially craft stores so all the crafters could buy their materials and craft like crazy to be done for Christmas. The other stores got into the act right around Labor Day or sooner. I think they were hoping to tempt me into buying more decorations before I looked at what I already had stored in the basement.

Many Black Friday sales have begun before Black Friday and Black Friday, on occasion, seems to be every day. We are tricked into believing that the sale will only happen once. For some unexplainable reason we believe the hype so we wait in long lines to get that special item that is important, such as the big-screen television.

Here in Minnesota it is better if we get snow so everyone feels it really is Christmas. Do you suppose the retailers in Minnesota put in a request for early snow so we will get the Christmas fever early? We are excited about Christmas. What happened to Thanksgiving?

On Facebook, I have noticed many of my friends are listing something they are thankful for every day. They have the gratitude attitude.

Churches haven’t forgotten about Thanksgiving. They are getting ready for Thanksgiving services although in these modern times, many services are in the evening before Thanksgiving Day because people have things to do on Thanksgiving and are too busy to go to services.

Food shelves haven’t forgotten about Thanksgiving. They know there are many hungry people out there who won’t have a Thanksgiving meal without the food shelves.

Local organizations haven’t forgotten about Thanksgiving. Many are gearing up to provide a free Thanksgiving meal so those that are alone, homeless or without the means for a meal will have a place to go.

Stores are gearing up to be open early for Thanksgiving Deals. They haven’t forgotten Thanksgiving and are trying to make it one of the biggest shopping experiences of the season. We can’t blame them. If we as consumers didn’t give up our family Thanksgiving to shop they wouldn’t open. It seems more important for us to shop rather than spend family time and rest and relax the entire Thanksgiving Day. I have a feeling that the small mom-and-pop shops will respect the Thanksgiving family tradition and wait until Friday to reopen.

The Thanksgiving Day Parade planners haven’t forgot about Thanksgiving. Last I heard the parades were still on. Football seems to be a Thanksgiving tradition. The entire family can gather around the television to watch their games before they fall asleep on the couch from eating all that turkey that contains tryptophan.

The holidays are anything but lazy. They are crazy. They are as crazy as we make them. What we do with Thanksgiving and Christmas determines where our priorities lie. It is different for each person and each family.

My family still celebrates Thanksgiving together. We have a meal. We play games. We watch movies, and we eat. We are blessed enough to have food to put on the table and to be able to spend time together. I feel especially blessed this year. I might have two working bathrooms. I don’t have to pull in an outhouse for the grandchildren.

This is not Thanksgiving week. Look around you each day and see the snippets of Thanksgiving in the preparation of the people you meet. Take the time to contemplate what you are grateful for and what you can do to honor the holiday.

How do you prepare for Thanksgiving? Has it been more about Christmas? Or has it been about being thankful for the blessings you have received this year.

I would appreciate it if you would email me this week at and let me know if you feel the blessings of the past year. I would like my column next week to be full of statements about thankfulness and blessings for Thanksgiving from many people. I would like you to write the column with those blessings. If you want me to use your name, I will. If you don’t I won’t. I hope to hear from you.

Perhaps something you share will reach out and touch another person and remind them of what they have to be thankful for.

“Even though we’re a week and a half away from Thanksgiving, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” — Richard Roeper