Monday, October 17, 2011

How Respect the Bird Started

Why Did I Write “Respect the Bird”?
By Doug Matthews

Yes, I might be getting older, and the world IS spinning faster, and there are a gazillion ads in November shouting about how to get a jump on holiday shopping or holiday anything, but it was more than that. I was just plain fed up. Thanksgiving had vanished. Lost in a black hole between Halloween and Christmas merchandise. Whirled into that smoothie of holiday sales promotions and commercials. It was time to speak out: Respect the Bird!!! So I did

For me, there is a time and place for everything, and I feel Thanksgiving belongs AFTER Halloween. And Christmas doesn’t begin until the Friday AFTER Thanksgiving—or, even better—the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. It’s that simple. There aren't many retailers that feel the same way, but kudos to those, like Nordstrom, who do! 

Without getting sentimental, Thanksgiving is one holiday that makes us stop and pay attention to what’s important in life: family, friends, abundant food, and our communities. For the Pilgrims who first celebrated Thanksgiving in 1621, it was about giving thanks for the fall harvest and sheer survival. After all, only 53 of 102 in the original group sailing on the Mayflower made it through their first year in America! Most of us don’t have to worry about survival, but it doesn’t hurt to take time out and be thankful for what we have. Of course, I love to cook (and eat) too.

When I wrote the post last November, I thought it may resonate with some, but I had no idea so many people felt the same way. Respect the Bird took off! Lots of people left comments with the post, which was a thrill for me. I’m still grateful. This year, we’re expanding the idea even further. It’s a grassroots community effort you and your family can join. Spread the word! Take the pledge to Respect the Bird! (Every click will be counted so we know how many of you feel this way.) Let everyone know what you’ll do to Respect the Bird on the Facebook page.

Right now I’m planning a spectacular Halloween costume and treats my kids will love. But come November 1st, I will be getting out my turkey tie with little turkeys walking all over a navy background. I'll start planning my meal and thinking about the family time while attempting to ignore the media and mall frenzy that will begin for holiday deals. I have three words for all of them. Respect the Bird! And I hope you do too!

-Doug

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