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Some in Michigan Work to "Take Back Thanksgiving"

TakeBackThanksgiving.org is aimed at giving everyone the chance to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones. Credit: Arielle Jay/morguefile.com
TakeBackThanksgiving.org is aimed at giving everyone the chance to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones. Credit: Arielle Jay/morguefile.com
November 25, 2015

LANSING, Mich. - For more than 200 years, American families have gathered on Thanksgiving to reflect and show appreciation for one another. But some Michiganders say retailers are undercutting the true meaning of the holiday by opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.

Annie Zirkel of Ann Arbor founded TakeBackThanksgiving.org, a movement to give all people the chance to celebrate the holiday with their loved ones. While it's understandable that emergency personnel are needed on their jobs, she said, there's no need for retail employees to work on Thanksgiving.

"It's a real affront to the message of the day, to entice people out of their homes and away from their families in order to inconvenience other families having their holidays," she said. "It's completely backwards, and as a society we really need to say, 'We're more than that.' "

The message may be resonating, since a number of retailers - including Costco, Marshalls and Nordstrom - are among stores that will not be open tomorrow. Those that will be include Macy's, Sears, Target and Walmart.

House Resolution 172, introduced in Michigan last month, calls for businesses and residents to respect Thanksgiving and refrain from offering or participating in sales promotions on the holiday. While it won't affect this year's observance, Zirkle said she is hopeful the measure gets traction. She said balance is needed between economics and honoring tradition.

"Even if it comes after Thanksgiving, I would still actually like for them to stand for Michigan being bigger than that," she said. "I would love Michigan to be a leader in this country, to honor both sides of this issue."

The measure, sponsored by state Rep. Thomas Hooker, R-Byron Center, has 40 cosponsors. Its text is online at openstates.org.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - MI