As we enter the holiday season, I am more focused than ever on making sure that our family and friends know that what’s important to us is being together.  Period.

But, this past weekend the marketing geniuses created yet another retail extravaganza that looked like sugar for a candy addict.  It’s the newest shopping phenomenon.  First there was Black Friday, then Cyber Monday.  Now, I’m not even sure what it’s called, but really? 8PM holiday jump start – on Thanksgiving evening no less.

Now, I love a great marketing opportunity, and I’m always clapping for those that are well-executed.  According to the news earlier this week, Americans are loosening their wallets this holiday season.  The election is over, there’s a certain optimism in the air, but Thanksgiving evening, well, I was just incensed….I was going to boycott those stores forever, every single retail participant that wanted to take my family and others away from this sacred day of togetherness.

So, what’s wrong with one more retail extravaganza?  After all, there were women on television saying that while their guys watched football, they would go shopping.

Well, here’s what I think – I don’t want to go back to a time when not even a grocery store was open for a few hours on Thanksgiving, but most of us have a choice of how to craft this day and the coming holidays.  Except for those who must work because their industry and/or society demands it, the rest of us get to decide what matters.  What would you choose – jump starting the holiday spending spree or being together with family and friends?

Hint:  The right answer is not  — all of the above.

We took this opportunity to talk with our adult children about their favorite holiday times with us and with other family members.  There was such a sparkle in their eyes as they told us about being with our daughter-in-law’s family and the things they did.  Together.

At no time were material presents at the top of the list.  It was all about a tradition they looked forward to celebrating. Being together was the theme.  That doesn’t just happen by luck.  Rather, it happens because we choose.

With the recession barely beginning to recede, did we learn nothing?  What choices have you made?  What’s worked best?

I’ll share some of mine next week.

Remember, if I can do it, you can too.

Susan Levy
Publisher, Well-Fed Heart

This week’s featured recipe:


Stormy Weather Chowder