Less than a lifetime ago I worked Thanksgiving with some regularity.
So when the girl at the big box store told me with a crestfallen gaze that everyone at her store was working this Thanksgiving, I knew exactly how she felt.
I’ve worked more low-wage, lower-respect jobs than I care to remember. And, while I probably work harder physically at any of those jobs than I do at the one I have now, sweat wasn’t the only thing I sacrificed for those low wages.
Sometimes working holidays was rewarding (I spent part of a few holidays at a nursing home helping other people have their family holiday, for example) and it made up for my lost family time to some degree. A lot of times, however, I wondered if the radio or beer I was selling was actually so vital that it couldn’t wait until a non-national holiday. Sure, there was a choice not to work that day, if you also wanted to make the choice not to work for that company again and then try and find a job with a recent firing on your next application, so it wasn’t much of a option.
And I know this girl doesn’t really have a choice.
But this year I do one.
Since so many stores have decided to cancel Thanksgiving (because stores care so much about working people who need deals on DVD players that couldn’t possibly be offered 24 or even 36 hours later so that the working people who work for them could give thanks with their families) and are skipping right to Christmas, our family is deciding to follow suit.
I’m not actually going to wear a red velvet suit even though I am un-uniquely shaped to do it. I am, however, recruiting the Big Guy and the two things for whom we give thanks to play Santa for a little while on Thanksgiving and take some cheer (Thanksgiving or Christmas) and a few baskets of muffins to one of the local box stores near us.
And while I don’t have any illusions that we’re going to change the world or make up for lost family time. But hopefully a little random kindness baked at 350 for 25 minutes will bring a little bit of home to people who need it.