Well, folks, another Halloween has come and gone. The costumes are all hung up and we all have a store of candy to last us for the next several months. But now that all of the Halloween festivities have been concluded, there has been a sudden onslaught of people who seem to think that it is now the Christmas season.

Whoa there. Reign in the sled and dampen the bells, because we’re not quite there yet.

Don’t get me wrong; Christmas is a wonderful holiday and I love to celebrate it just as much as the next person. But when I can walk into Walmart on November 3, when it’s 70 degrees outside, and see that the store is completely decorated for Christmas, we have a problem. Halloween is barely over and you want to talk about Christmas? By the way, what ever happened to Thanksgiving?

It seems that over the years, Thanksgiving has become more and more ignored. This is largely due to an annual occurrence that is generally referred to as the Christmas Creep. What this means is that every year, stores begin to run their adds, hire their holiday employees, decorate, and unveil their big sales earlier and earlier. It used to be that stores would do their preparations a little in advance, but would close on Thanksgiving and let their Black Friday sales commence at a reasonable time the day afterwards. But now, businesses put commercials on TV and bulky ads in the newspaper advertising their huge Black Friday sales weeks in advance. And these sales aren’t just limited to Black Friday either; many times there are “early bird sales” and “pre-Black Friday sales.” There are some stores that don’t even close on Thanksgiving anymore.

These strategies work for these businesses because we, the consumers, buy into them. Stores want to make more money, so, using all of the early sales and other gimmicks, they get us to think about needing to buy those Christmas presents earlier and earlier. This makes us so preoccupied that we end up shoving Thanksgiving to the back burner.

It shouldn’t be this way. Thanksgiving is a time for us to pause and reflect on all of the things we have been blessed with in the past year and to be grateful for what we have, not to stress over the Christmas gifts we have yet to purchase. It is a time to get together with family, eat a large meal with one another, relax, and enjoy each other’s company. We can sit back and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, stuff ourselves with turkey until we burst, cheer on our favorite college football teams, and catch a few Zs. All of this adds up to the nature of Thanksgiving; we are able to take a break from our hectic lives, give thanks, and simply be.

So this November, put Christmas aside for a minute and let Thanksgiving take a seat in the spotlight. Christmas will have its turn soon enough. Until then, Happy Thanksgiving.