Thanksgiving slowly succumbs to commercialism

Tuesday, November 23, 2010; 8:54 PM

CHEERS TO Kevin Mansell and other retailers who are holding out for tradition. Mr. Mansell, chief executive of Kohl's Corp., was recently quoted in the Wall Street Journal disassociating himself from the growing number of stores that plan to open their doors on Thanksgiving. "Somebody else is chasing a dollar? Let 'em do it," said Mr. Mansell. "I think our associates, and frankly our customers, deserve time with their families and that's what Thanksgiving is about."

Amen. How sad it is that a day that is supposed to be set aside for giving thanks for life's blessings is increasingly being hijacked by the daily rush of commerce and competition. Black Friday - the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season - is bad enough, what with its imperative for some to cut Thanksgiving short so they can get a better place in line. As The Post's Ylan Q. Mui wrote, first the stores opened at 5 a.m.; then some decided to throw the doors open at midnight for shopping pajama parties. Kmart was long the lone outpost in being open for business on Thanksgiving, but recent years have seen more stores joining in. The most recent to announce they will be open Thursday are Sears and Toys R Us.

We understand: Store officials are just trying to provide convenience for shoppers who want to get an early jump on Christmas. Some store workers undoubtedly welcome the chance to earn some extra income.

Online stores never close. And the more stores choose to open, the harder it is for the holdouts to remain closed. Anyone feeling nostalgic for an era when, for just one day, commercial things would be set aside is swimming against the tide of history.

So be it. We can't help but be discouraged watching such a lovely holiday - family and friends giving thanks together - take a back seat to the blue light special.

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