I'm not sure if Amy Poehler intentionally knew that her "pop-star celebrity" bit for Old Navy was going to be used for this Thanksgiving special or not, but that's entirely irrelevant. While watching Brooklyn Nine Nine on HuluPlus last night I noticed this commercial air a few times.
It really speaks to me about where we are as a <country, culture, society, generation> whatever you want to insert there, and how we have come to view Thanksgiving.
What happened to Thanksgiving?
I remember when Thanksgiving was a time reserved for family. Maybe it wasn't always a pleasant experience (perhaps that's why we've become so absorbed with shopping the day after and now the day of?), but it was still centered around family and giving thanks. As a kid, I went to several locations on Thanksgiving day because my family situation was so broken up that it required multiple stops. We had a Thanksgiving Breakfast with one sect, Thanksgiving Lunch with a different quadrant, Thanksgiving Dinner with a third. The fact that I was jostled around on this day didn't matter. I was happy and thankful for the time to see my family.
Now, as somewhat of an adult, Thanksgiving itself is a bit of an odd holiday to me, maybe because of it being so disjointed in the past. I feel it's sort of become dedicated to overeating and shopping. I'm sure there are plenty of folks out there that live outside this conventional idea of Thanksgiving though.
But, seriously, a million dollars on Thanksgiving day? Those are the tactics Old Navy is willing to use to get people in their stores on a day traditionally meant for sharing thanks and Turkey?
I think the bigger question, really, is, what has gratitude become to us? Where are we placing and practicing our gratitude? Gratitude, in its real sense, is one of the best and most powerful Small Acts we have in cultivating a positive shift in our thinking.
I haven't seen as many of those "Day 26: I'm thankful for my wonderful boyfriend" Facebook posts this November. I don't think that is necessarily because people aren't thankful. I think it's more about it being "used up" in the previous years. How much is actually new and different from last year that's worth posting about?
To me, and it's only until lately that I have learned to try and consciously practice this, each day by itself is something worth my gratitude. My arms, legs, feet, fingers, sight, hearing, and relative sanity are all wonderful things worth my gratitude. The fact that I have a home and a decent job is a reason to give thanks each day. There are so many more things I could list off.
Today, while attending the volunteer orientation at The Haven, I became acutely aware of how much I really have to appreciate, and how often I take those things for granted. I barely got to interact with the "guests" at the Haven while there. However, just hearing about the hardships they endure, and the Haven's philosophy on preventing homelessness and aiding those who are homeless, put my life in perspective. I can bathe, do laundry, and get on the internet at my leisure. I have socks.
It's not my call whether you spend Thanksgiving with your family or at Old Navy. Your actions, thoughts, and consciousness are out of my hands. However, I do encourage you to take a few moments during your day tomorrow, regardless of whatever else you do, to contribute the Small Act of truthfully reflecting on where your gratitude resides, on the day of giving thanks, as well as every other day of the year.