Saturday, October 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Comes First 2011

Dear Retailers, Television Networks, Radio Stations and major corporations:

With all due respect to the holiday, I am asking, actually I'm begging you, to please-- please, knock off the early Christmas chatter. It's only October, not even Halloween yet, but the red and green mall decorations popping up, the trees with shiny stars on top selling ornaments, the jingle bells, the random caroling over the loud speakers, and the increasing stream of commercials, all shouting Christmas, are just too much. It leaves me in a puddle of tears on the floor.

I realize I am not your problem, and I know the economy is rough, money is tight, and profits are at risk, but if you could grant this one request by holding off on "Decking the Halls", until December and remember Thanksgiving Comes First, I'd deeply appreciate it.

Thanksgiving is my great big family's very favorite holiday, one steeped in tradition and filled with meaningful heart-felt memories that we look forward to all year long. On this holiday, we come together as a family for fellowship, joyful conversation, wonderful food, and the opportunity to take time out of our busy lives to say thank you for all the things we are so blessed to have.

We look forward to this day all year long, as do countless other Americans, and it shouldn't be swept under the table, disregarded, minimized, or taken for granted just to cash in on Christmas.

But that is not why I'm asking you to hold off on your commercialized Christmas rush this year. My request actually comes from the bottom of my heart and a sincere need to protect and support my mother and family.

We are devastated over the recent passing of my sweet step-father, Dave, and this will be our first holiday without him. We need more time to heal and mend and prepare our hearts for a Thanksgiving without him leading our family in Grace at the dinner table.

Our hearts are still so very heavy and there is a layer of sadness in my family that is difficult to describe other than to say it is a sadness so deep that Thanksgiving, my step-dad's very favorite holiday, is too hard for us to imagine yet without him.

We started preparing for Thanksgiving months ago, well before Dave's passing. His famous Pretzel Jello Salad and Cranberry Jello were two dishes he planned to lovingly prepare just the way everyone likes them.

He was going to help move the furniture out of their living room so the dining room table could stretch all the way to their front bay window allowing our entire family, young and old, to all be around the same Thanksgiving table together. It's a lot of work but it was that important to Dave and he'd have gladly rolled up his sleeves and made it happen with the help of my nephews and brother.

I know Dave had been thinking about what he would say that he was most thankful for this year when it was his turn to share with the family. It's our tradition before dessert-- to always go around the table and not only thank god and our folk's for the wonderful meal but we also give thanks and verbalize something important to each of us from the past year. We'll never know what Dave was holding in his heart to share but you can be sure he is one person we are all deeply thankful for.

This Thanksgiving will be so difficult for my family, especially our Mom because very honestly, her heart has broken into a thousand pieces. It's obvious to see when the thought of life without her Beloved crosses Mom's mind. And now with so many retailers and corporations all but ignoring Thanksgiving and it's significance makes Mom and my family feel even more devastated by our loss.

We as a family are in desperate need of Thanksgiving and the opportunity to come together and remember the things we are thankful for. As we hold hands to say Grace before our meal I have no doubt tears will flow, but I pray that it is also a time to help the healing process and for us to remember not just our sweet Dave, but also the many things we have been blessed with and are thankful for this year.

So again I ask-- Please do not rush into Christmas yet-- Let Thanksgiving Come First-- for all the right reasons, and because my mom and family are not yet ready to face a holiday with one less loved one in our life.

Sincerely, Joanna Jenkins

It's time to roll the Thanksgiving Comes First boulder up the mountain of Christmas advertising that seems to inundate us earlier and earlier with each passing year. Click HERE to read Suldog's annual post then join in and help spread the word.


  1. Joanna, I am so sorry to hear about your Step Dad Dave. My thoughts and prayers to you and your family at this time. We have already had our Thanksgiving here in Canada, I agree with you about it being one of the biggest Holidays, and it seems to be more so in the States. I have always thought that. The way you describe it is how it was when we lived back home. I know it will be a very tough day for you. I am sure he would have said how blessed he was to have you all. I wish I had words to make it easier, just know a friend is thinking about you and sending you a huge hug.

  2. Great post, Joanna! I'm sorry to hear about your step-dad. I have one, too, whom I dearly love; I understand your loss.

    It does seem that the Christmas decorations are coming our earlier and earlier--since when are they displayed simultaneously with Halloween? The thing that bothers me most is the presumption that everyone is Christian. I'd much rather see an emphasis on Thanksgiving, a holiday everyone in America celebrates. Let the religious holidays remain... religious.

  3. I loved when you posted this last year and it's even better this year. You make a good point of not rushing it, especially for those who have lost loved ones.

  4. It is a big adjustment without those people that we love. I hope it is a wonderful day for all of you...and yes, hold of Christmas a while!

  5. totally feeling you here...they are decorating the mall as we speak...we saw it yesterday...ugh....know you will miss him over the holiday....have a nice sunday!

  6. Oh JJ I hear you .....I'm sorry I know the holidays are tough and rushing past them is a shame. My hearts aches for your Mom and family I hope this Thanksgiving amongst your tears there will be laughter remembering Dave and lots of stories.


  7. First, I so sorry for your loss, Joanna.

    Yes, Thanksgiving is first, and it is my favorite holiday, too. Last year the major chain stores were OPEN on THANKSGIVING. That's just wrong on so many levels. "Hey, save me some turkey, I have to get to the store!" Puh leeze.

  8. I'm so sorry about Dave, Joanna. Losing a loved one cuts so deep.

    I'm with you for similar reasons this year, after losing my mom and step-mom. My personal plan is to roll up the rug on November 1st and not unroll it until after my step-mom's birthday the 1st week in January.

    Thanksgiving was always our big, extended family get together. This year it will be nothing but two empty seats. So I'm with you, Joanna. I'm with you.

  9. I hope this heartfelt post reaches the retailers responsible for the mall decorations and that some of them understand what damage is done to families when holidays are rushed and pushed upon them.
    Do I think the corporations will care? I know the Supreme Court has ruled that corporations are people but they are not. I can't stop hoping though that all the voices are heard about Thanksgiving being a special holiday and we are all tired of it being overlooked.

  10. A very heartfelt plead Joanna. My heart is with your mother JJ.

    Thanksgiving first before celebration.

  11. I wish the retail community would listen to your plea, Joanna. I fear that it will have to be something that hits them in their pocketbook before they will actually listen.
    I hope that in spite of the commercial world that your family will have a Thanksgiving that brings you all the comfort of love and remembering.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss and hope that your mom makes it through with your help and support. I also cannot imagine why they start so early, by the time it gets here everybody is glad to see it go!

  13. beautifully written! such great thoughts and I love the part about saying what you are thankful for. This is the first time in 6 years that I will be with family for Thanksgiving. I can only hope that it will be a peaceful and joyful and blessing for your family.

  14. I sure hope some of the retailers will read these blogs and take them to heart. I can feel your pain in your words and feel for you and your mom.
    Over here there are no decorations up yet, but believe you me, come November there is no stopping it.

    A big ((HUG))
    from Betty

  15. Holidays are particularly difficult when loved ones go away. Sorry for your loss.
    I couldn't agree with you more about the early commercialization of Christmas. In addition to Thanksgiving my husband's birthday comes at the end of November. I try hard to hold off the Christmas 'spirit' until after his big day as well.

  16. I'm keeping your family, esp. you Mom in my thoughts and prayers JJ. I know the holiday season is so difficult when a loved one isn't there to partake. My Hubby and I are like you and your family, Thanksgiving is our very favorite holiday and we just hate how Christmas stuff is out there in October, it's rather disgusting and I refuse to buy anything Christmas related until December and usually it's mostly gone so I save money I guess. Hang in there sweet lady!!

  17. lots of Christmas stuff out already, you're so right. Sorry for your loss, treasure the lovely memories.

  18. I hope your family has a peaceful Thanksgiving, Joanna.

  19. So sorry for your loss, Joanna. You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Also--Target put some Christmas decorations up with the Halloween candy. Geesh.

  20. Alas, the retails do not care one way or another about OUR order of things. And they never will.

    So we ignore and celebrate in order.

    I am sorry for your loss. May Thanksgiving offer you all some gentle, if tearful, healing.

  21. Sorry for your loss, and amen to everything else!

  22. i am sorry to hear of your loss. i know the memories of your step father will remain in your heart.

  23. The first holiday after a big loss like that ---
    Well, there are times it doesn't feel like a Holiday at all.
    But yet it is.... cuz the loved ones still have each other - and lovely memories!
    Which is what makes the Holidays so special in the first place!

  24. You and I must have been thinking about this topic at the same time...My post tomorrow is about retailers and Christmas...We love Thanksgiving around here and I always feel so rushed...I want to be able to enjoy Thanksgiving the way we once did without all the decorations of Christmas taking over...
    I know how difficult it is to celebrate a Holiday without a loved one...Will be praying for your family to feel the peace of God on Thanksgiving day...

  25. I'm so sorry for you and your mom and the rest of the family. Being thankful for small things will be a small step on the way to healing...

    Although I've seen ads for Christmas shows over here, everything is low key until the end of November. And I'm grateful for that.

  26. Hugs to your family, you and a special one for your mom!
    And I agree...Thanksgiving does come first!
    As for me...I love Halloween and they seem to plow through that one right to Christmas. In fact...Hobby lobby had three aisles of Halloween and 16 aisles of Christmas!! Ridiculous!!

  27. Thank you, Joanna! Excellent piece of writing!

  28. Very sad post Joanna. So sorry about Dave and my heart goes out to your Mom and family.

    I too am sick and tired of the Christmas season being shoved down our throats ahead of Halloween and Thanksgiving. It has made me sick and tired of shopping. I just donate to charity rather than waste my time and money buying gifts no one needs or cares about anyway.

    Those dishes Dave made sound very yummy!! xo

  29. Oh sweetie, my heart and prayers go out to you and your family. I just went through all the 'first' without my daddy this past year. It's been a year now and although ya never forget it does get easier.

    I pray that you will come together this Thanksgiving and just picture your Step~FIL celebratin' the day with Jesus!!!

    God bless and keep you my friend! :o)

    .....feel my hugs.........???

  30. Oh, your family sounds so wonderful. And your post nails just one of so many reasons why I wish we could reject the consumerism of holidays and simply CELEBRATE with THANKS. Like you, I plan to hole up and avoid shopping until after Thanksgiving just to keep my blood pressure down. The way they shove it down our throats is so sick.

  31. Sorry for your loss.
    Good posting!
    Commercial xmas is not for me.
    I enjoy good food and candles. Simple but relaxing.
    Have a good week!

  32. Loss is always toughest around the Holidays. I agree about them rushing the Christmas stuff. too much..too early.

  33. I join the others in expressing sympathies for your loss, and I know how tough it can be at holiday time.

  34. A beautiful, tender post, Joanna. Holidays are so difficult when in mourning. Hugs to you.

  35. Oh, Joanna, I truly second your request about letting Christmas wait till after Thanksgiving is properly celebrated.

    I remember your poignant post when your dear stepfather, Dave, died. I know you and your family will definitely feel his absence at Thanksgiving and at every special day - and ordinary day - for the rest of your lives. You were so blessed, though, to have such a tremendous second father!

    Thinking of you as I prepare to finally move out of this house. I'm hoping to get down to L. A. around the 12th before my Nov 14th flight to India, via Korean Airlines ( will stop in Seoul for a couple of days! ).

  36. Oh, my friend my heart goes out to you and your family. Some say the 1st is the hardest, some find the 2nd is harder etc... I think in general it is hard when there is a hole in the heart left by a losing a love one. I just learned to work around the hole. When my dad passed away 3 yrs I feel I kind of lost the mom I knew too. Sending you and your family big hugs as Thanksgiving nears. xo...

    P.S. I agree with promoting holidays before one is over. I know so many feel this way. I wonder why retailers are not listening.

  37. Bless you dear girl...I hope you can manage to block out the retailers commercialism and focus instead on your Thanksgiving. I send you a gentle hug across the miles...

  38. {{{HUGS}}} I am sure your step-Dad will be there in spirit mate.

    Our malls and shops have started with the Christmas decorations too...FAR TOO EARLY!

  39. HUGS!!!!! And I'm with you 150%!!

  40. As you know we do not celebrate Thanksgiving in UK but I sympathise entirely with the fact that the commercial world is much too fast off the mark with the Christmas deluge in the shops. It is about to start here as well. It is all about money and making as much of it as possible at all costs so regretably I doubt whether the retailers and suppliers will listen to reasoning. It's just that mad world we live in these days. Eddie

  41. That first round of holidays is is hard after you've lost someone.

  42. I am SO with you on this one. I HATE Christmas in October. Would prefer not to even have it in November.

  43. i'm so sorry to hear about your prayers to you and your family.

    and today while buying even more halloween candy, i noticed the christmas decorations invading the holiday space......arrrghhhh....i'm just not ready for that yet.

    let's have thanksgiving first and give holidays back the month that they own :)

  44. Very sorry for your loss..The holidays are to me horrible when one loses a person they love it just makes a person feel lost..that is my opinion..As for the holiday music in sept. oct. and even before Thanksgiving I think it is trash to do it..I won't shop in stores that do that at I don't get all stressed, we don't do Christmas we do Hanukkah and only on the real date! We give gift cards and the family seems to love that, can wait until dec. 26 to look for what they want at a reduced price..we are happy and not in debt up to our elbows..We seem to be happier that way..Again, condolences and please enjoy November before turkey day..

  45. First, I couldn't agree more about this entire rushing the holiday business. It's stupid. The decorations up now don't put me in the mood, they just put me off.

    But, I sat here and read this post three times. Three times. Because it was the only way I felt as though I could sit with you and hold your hand while you process all these emotions. I wish I could do that for you in real time and am hoping you can feel it regardless.

    For both of us Snarky Sisters, this year has been a loss of those important to us. But, I guess that's a sure sign that we're growing up.

    Love To You This Day...

  46. I love Thanksgiving because it's so relaxed, and there's no pressure at all about gifts. It's just family and togetherness and a whole lot of feel good food!

    So very sorry that your family is feeling such a heavy loss.

  47. thanksgiving is also my favorite. it´s hard to believe i haven´t celebrated it in 20 years. (not many turkeys, cranberries, pumpkins, (nor moms to cook everything) here in spain.) wishing you a gentle thanksgiving. sending you love and peace dear jj.

  48. Joanna:

    I just had to stop back again to say "Thank You!" again.

    I tend to skip all over the 'net looking for TCF posts. I also go back to those I've linked to, in order to see if others have seen them (the only way I'd know is by comments) and I've seen your comments on quite a few of them. That's the sort of thing that someone who really truly cares would do, and I just want to let you know that I appreciate it.


Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I really appreciate it.