The Gronk… I mean Grinch who stole Thanksgiving!

Yes siree Bob, the last bastion of peace-relaxation-food-and-feast has been obliterated by the people who created it.  Yup… you and me… Johnny and Suzy Q. Public… along with some of the greediest and grinchiest retailers on the planet, who took a page from Whoville’s greatest annals and hijacked Thanksgiving for the foreseeable future.

Question… Sit on the couch, engage in turkey-palooza all day with friends and family while lying about running 5 miles the next day to make up for what you ate, and watch NFL games until your eyes bleed… Or, introduce a high level of stress filled, money spending shopping for your family’s 14th flat screen TV to be hung in the half bath downstairs?

A recent study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, titled, “Thank Goodness for Thanksgiving Shopping” highlights American shopping habits, and retail store blitzkrieg plans, all the while turkeys were basting in ovens all across America.  It looks like only about 1 in 4 (24%) abandoned turkey legs for shopping legs on Thanksgiving Day.

However, like a fish smelling the newest lure in the pond, it seems as if the retail store game plans worked as Americans shopped with one reason in mind, “getting the best deal on a holiday gift” (46%), and 1 in 2

(54%) shopped between 6pm – Midnight when store doors flew open like turkey coop doors for the first time ever at dinner time on Thanksgiving Day.

Interestingly, (23%) of shoppers mentioned, “Holiday tradition with friends” as the reason why they shopped on Thanksgiving Eve.  This is clearly a trend to watch in years to come.  Will family dinning be replaced by family shopping?  Smart retailers will lever this data point if they are smart… or wicked smaht, as we say in Boston.

Last year I quoted a stat from the AFBF (American Farm Bureau Federation), about the average cost for a Thanksgiving party of 10 to be somewhere between $50.00 and $75.00 (no alcohol or beverages included). Juxtapose it against a stat from ARG (American Research Group), estimating the average American family spends between $650.00 and $750.00 for holiday gifts.

I don’t know about you, but there is no money-tree hanging in the Abbate back yard, so why do so many retailers and Americans feel it necessary to increase Thanksgiving Day’s cash outlay (non-football and fantasy football league losses) tenfold?  Not to mention the abandonment of dinner table family bonding replaced by PDA/Smartphone/Tablet finger noodling to map out the evening’s shopping plans.

Let’s face it…family day Sunday was lost over a decade ago, but at least…for now…we still have Thanksgiving as a day of family enjoyment each year… so YOU and ME are ultimately the people who can maintain and uphold this tradition moving forward!