The NEW YORK POST laments that Macy's will be open for actual business this Thanksgiving and dares that we change the name of the day to "Black Thursday." However, for many of us - and I don't mean only compulsive shoppers - that is good news. We are the ones who fear "the holidays." Being able to duck out shopping immediately deflates that angst.
What does the fear come from? What doesn't it come from?
My terror used to be having to deal with my parents and two sisters. We never got along. Of course, the tensions ballooned even when I thought about returning home for Thanksgiving. Now three of the four are dead. The fourth and I haven't spoken since November 2003. So, Thanksgiving has morphed for me into just another work day, but without expecting the pressure of phone calls, email, and texting from clients. Like most bright people from dysfunctional families, I became all-work.
Others, such as a college friend from the Seton Hill Class of 1963, are wary of Thanksgiving because they don't trust themselves to make it through without the ones they love. One woman's mother had died last year. Come to think of it, seven Thanksgivings ago I went into an emotional panic. My animal companion Molly Mittens had died on the vet's table from congestive heart failure the previous summer. I hunted down a pet medium. I needed to transmit messages over to Molly Mittens.
And then there are those in 12-step programs who understand that they could feel the pull force toward a drink. For that reason most 12-step programs hold 24-hour alkathons of meetings, food, and community. Part of the ritual is getting busy with cooking the turkey. For my first decade of sobriety I used the alkathons as a way to put myself into protective custody.
This year an option will be to shop at Macy's. That is one more item to put on our gratitude list.