Thanksgiving was a big deal when I was a kid. For us, it meant getting together at my Grandfather’s house in his basement with our entire family for a big turkey dinner. Couldn’t fit them all in the same room upstairs.

But mostly what I was waiting for was the Friday after Thanksgiving.

I vividly recall the day and weekend immediately after Thanksgiving as something really big and special when I was a kid. That was the official start of the Christmas season. That’s when you drove into the city to the big department store on Woodward here in Detroit; it was the JL Hudson building back then. Had 12 floors. Then, we waited in line for hours to see Santa Claus while my parents shopped.

The death of the downtown department store as mecca has destroyed a lot of “specialness”. Now, the holiday shopping experience surrounds you and bombards you.

Even worse, now Christmas season starts before Halloween. I’m sick of it before Thanksgiving even gets here. I don’t think we’ve done the kids, ourselves, or even retail commerce any favors by stretching the season into a calendar quarter.

I just saw an ad from a major retailer that is having a Pre-Black Friday sale on Tuesday. Nuts.

But the bigger point is how much of “the special” has been taken away, spoiled, diminished, and diluted. There’s real opportunity there for the business owners who find a way to give their customers truly special treatment. To make it so they have something to look forward to with anticipation, to experience with awe and wonder and fun.

There is a huge gap between Cyber Monday and the business owner that treats and speaks to his customers like they’re VIP. Believe me, they want to be treated like a VIP and will pay more for it in this cyber age of NOT being able to get a human voice on the phone.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday if you are in the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving. Remember to take some time and enjoy yourself. It’s the reason we do what we do.