Day 1 of Holiday Traditions // Susan Anderson

A Time For More than Black Friday: From Someone Who Knows ALL About it!

1     Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
2    Worship the Lord with gladness;
             come before Him with joyful songs.
3     Know that the Lord is God.
             It is He who made us, and we are His;
             we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

4     Enter His gates with thanksgiving
             and His courts with praise;
             give thanks to Him and praise His name.
5     For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
            His faithfulness continues through all generations

-Psalm 100

Thanksgiving. The first one was celebrated in 1621 by the pilgrims as a way of thanking God for the blessings of their harvest. Today, the word itself evokes images of turkey and dressing, football, family, pumpkin pie, and of course…Black Friday shopping.

In recent years, we’ve seen more and more commercialization as an increase in large corporate retail chains began opening earlier and earlier – even opening on Thanksgiving Day.  I’m sure all of you have heard the description for Black Friday: “Only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.” Ouch!

For the past 17 years, my husband and I have owned and operated a retail store here in Dothan -  Eagle Eye Outfitters. Each Thanksgiving season brings a rush of activities as we prepare for the biggest shopping day of the year…the Super Bowl of Shopping known as Black Friday. There is additional seasonal hiring to be done, mapping out our promotions & advertising, scheduling our extended hours, all to ensure our Christmas shopping season kicks off well.

We have asked ourselves many times over the years, how do we balance the commercial side of Thanksgiving weekend with the reason the holiday exists – to display an overflowing heart of gratitude? We wanted to ensure that having an attitude of thankfulness was a high priority in our home. When our youngest daughter was first learning to write, I started an activity that we now look forward to each year. It’s simple, but it helps set the tone for our holiday season.

On Thanksgiving morning while eating breakfast before heading out to be with grandparents and extended family, we each prepare a list of 30 things for which we are thankful. We then share them with each other thanking our Father for His blessings, protection, and providence.  

I have saved our lists over the years in a binder. Can you just imagine what a treasure it is to look back on these as our children have grown. Some of the people on our lists are no longer with us. Some of the physical blessings are not so important anymore. What is a consistent theme is to see how our good, good Father does work all things together for our growth but most importantly for HIS glory.

This Thanksgiving holiday, I want my family and myself to be abounding with thankful hearts…even in the hustle of retail.

And, if you stop by Eagle Eye over the weekend, ask me about my list for this year!  

  • What ten things (or thirty!) can you thank God for this Thanksgiving?  
  • What ten things have you seen God do in the life of your family this year?
  • How can you practically narrow down your Black Friday shopping list and your expectations for this holiday season? Who can hold you accountable?
  • When would be the best time to incorporate a list making time for you and your family? Breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? With older children/teens, how could you make it fun (5 silly things, 5 serious things, etc)?

Please share your response in the comments section below or join the conversation with our Facebook Community Group

// Susan

Susan Anderson is the co-owner and CFO of Eagle Eye Outfitters, an independent outdoor specialty store in Dothan. Founded in 1999, Eagle Eye has been recognized multiple times as one of the leading specialty stores in the Southeast by industry leaders and vendors. Susan and her husband, Mark have been married for twenty-two years, and have two daughters, Olivia (12 years old) and Mackensie (9 years old). They are active members of Ridgecrest Baptist Church where the Anderson’s lead the College Ministry and Susan leads a mission’s group for elementary aged girls. Currently, Susan serves on the board of directors for the Wiregrass Hope Group, the Dothan Chamber of Commerce, and the Dothan Convention & Visitors Bureau. She is a volunteer for WIRED ministries, a local organization in its eighth year of hosting week-long events each summer designed to bring churches together to impact the Wiregrass area. Susan is also actively involved in advisory and volunteer capacities with several other local service organizations.