I am a traditionalist at heart. Some would say that just means Iím old.

I am a traditionalist at heart. Some would say that just means Iím old.

And that may be true, but it bothers me that stores such as Target, Walmart, Kmart, Toys R Us and Sears have decided to start their traditional "Black Friday" sales on Thanksgiving Day.

It used to be that a holiday meant something. And in America, there are few holidays that nearly everyone can agree are holidays. July Fourth is one, and I believe Thanksgiving is another.

After all, everyone can relate to pausing and giving thanks and appreciation for all that we have.

Thanksgiving is considered a major family holiday. After all, most people used to get four days off work and could travel to visit relatives.

For many others, "family" has grown to mean good friends and neighbors.

Now, for many, Thanksgiving will be nothing but another day of work.

The big retailers will argue that they are just being flexible to their customersí needs. They will say many donít like to get up early in the morning but prefer to shop at night, which is why the sales are beginning at 8 and 9 p.m., late enough for families to enjoy their dinners.

Still, that doesnít take into account all the employees who will be working throughout much of the day as these stores get ready for the sales.

I understand that this is the free enterprise system, but you would think that at least for one day we could forget about making a buck to enjoy time with each other and give thanks for all that is good in the world.

Of course, this is coming from a guy who has had to work on more than a few holidays. I have missed more than a few Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

The way to stop this invasion of our holidays is to simply not participate in these Thanksgiving Day sales. After all, the consumer has all the power. If we donít shop, the stores wonít open.

With that, Iíve got a new take on an old phrase: Donít shop so they will stop.

Ken Buday is the editor and general manager of the Havelock News. He can be reached at 444-1999 or at ken.buday@havenews.com.