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Thanksgiving More Than Shopping

Gone are the days when an entire day was devoted to Thanksgiving; we’ve evidently passed the point when giving one whole day just for family, friends and thanksgiving is acceptable.

The new fad is to begin the hectic shopping season on Thanksgiving Day, limiting the more thoughtful 24 hours of thanks to just a few hours. The crowds of shoppers determined to get the best bargains of the season want to begin as soon as possible – even if it interferes with the day of thanks.

According to news reports, some people were camped outside stores, determined to be first in line for whatever bargain the stores offered. It would seem those folks didn’t even devote a few hours to being thankful.

The phenomenon of Black Friday keeps growing and growing. It’s an important day for retailers as is the entire holiday season, but it’s almost as if it has become its own holiday. Sometimes Black Friday is a bigger story than Thanksgiving.

Even before Black Friday became so much more than just some good bargains that could be found the day after Thanksgiving, much was written about the Christmas season becoming too commercial.

It’s not a bad conversation to have, and it’s not a bad concept for parents to consider when planning their children’s Christmas. But we believe that most people do a good job of keeping things in perspective.

All we have to do is look around at how much the people of Rio Rancho did to help others during the Thanksgiving season to know that our friends and neighbors in this city know what’s really important. They didn’t get sidetracked when it came to making sure others had something to be thankful for.

This year many, many people donated to churches and other groups that collected food to share with those less fortunate. Others gave of their time to serve meals, so everyone could have a Thanksgiving dinner. Julian Garza, of McDonald’s of Rio Rancho, sponsored his annual Thanksgiving dinner at one of his restaurants. We could go on and on telling stories of the many Rio Rancho folks who contributed so others could have a special day.

The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program has started, and caring folks are already contributing toys so more children can have a special Christmas. Churches and other organizations are finalizing plans for their contributions to this upcoming holiday season. The people of Rio Rancho always answer the call.

When children are included in the family’s good works, parents are often cured of the tendency to give into the commercialism. It’s amazing the number of children whose favorite memory of Christmas is being part of giving to others. We’ve heard stories from many parents who shared how their children began the habit of giving because the family “adopted” another family one Christmas or they spearheaded a toy drive or contributed to others in some way. We’ve heard of high school kids who are involved in their community because of the lessons they learned at home.

It’s a lesson worth learning – and teaching.

There’s still plenty of time to reach out and help. There will be plenty of groups asking for your contributions, and plenty of stories about struggling people. Sometimes, though, it takes planning because it’s easy to get so caught up in our own lives that we forget about the needs of others, and sometimes it requires giving time as much as it does money. But the rewards are great no matter how you contribute.

We have great faith in the Rio Rancho community. We know people will be there to meet the needs of others to make the holiday special for everyone. We are proud to live in Rio Rancho.

Common Sense appears on Saturdays. Contact the Ryans at
— This article appeared on page 24 of the Albuquerque Journal