Charles Owens

Say it isn’t so. Thanksgiving is already here. That also means the official start to the 2022 holiday season is now underway.

But the big question on everyone’s mind is whether or not inflation will deflate the joy of the holiday season this year.

Over the past two weeks or so, I’ve seen a couple of national news stories that suggested it could be cheaper to eat out at a restaurant on Thanksgiving this year as opposed to buying all of the food necessary for a holiday feast at home.

Eating out on Thanksgiving sounds easy enough, but it also reminds me of a depressing holiday from years ago.

Let’s just say I was a lot younger at the time, and was the reporter working on Thanksgiving Day.

I made the mistake of not packing a lunch to bring to work with me. I figured I would just eat out. Simple enough. Right?

Well, on this particular year, just about every restaurant in Bluefield and Bluefield, Va., was closed.

In fact, I couldn’t find a single restaurant that was open to purchase a meal at.

It was starting to look like I would go without food on Thanksgiving — other than snacks that could be found in the vending machines in the newspaper’s lunch room at the time.

But all hope was ultimately not lost.

Long-time area residents probably know that the Gabe’s department store on Cumberland Road used to be a Kmart.

And at one time, that Kmart also had a Little Caesar’s pizza shop inside of it.

While everything else in Bluefield was closed on that Thanksgiving Day, Kmart was actually open.

So was the Little Casear’s pizza shop inside of it.

So instead of turkey, I feasted on pizza for Thanksgiving.

That brings us to 2022.

If it will be cheaper to eat out this year, I have to ask the obvious question. Will any restaurants actually be open on Thanksgiving Day?

Furthermore, I would imagine that a larger, all-you-can eat dinner buffet, would prove to be costly as well.

And ever since the pandemic arrived in 2020, the all-you-can eat buffets seem to have gone the way of the dinosaur.

•••

The next big question is will inflation also impact Christmas shopping this year?

We don’t have a clear answer to that question just yet.

But considering that the price of just about everything has increased in recent months, I would imagine that gift buying will be more costly this year too.

•••

Ready or not, the official countdown to the 2022 holiday is season is now underway.

If you have some casual shopping to do this weekend, expect larger than normal crowds. Despite inflation, the big Black Friday shopping deals will still draw out many people who are looking for the best deals of the season.

It also will be harder to find a place to park at the shopping centers, and traffic will be a little more congested on area roads, particularly on weekends.

But some will simply do all of their shopping online, which has been growing in popularity ever since the pandemic began.

•••

Now that the joyous holiday season is upon us, can we expect a reprieve from the seemingly never-ending barrage of political fighting? It’s doubtful. The countdown to the 2024 presidential election is more or less already underway.

So maybe we should all avoid talking about politics — if at all possible — with our relatives and friends this Thanksgiving. Because it is all but inevitable that you will come across at least one relative or friend who doesn’t share your own political viewpoints.

Of course, one way to avoid arguments over politicians and bad politics at the dinner table is to eat out this year.

You may, according to several national news media outlets, save some money in the process. That’s assuming, of course, you can find a restaurant that is open on Thanksgiving Day.

Remember, Kmart is now a distant memory, and the last time I checked, Gabe’s doesn’t have a Little Caesar’s inside of it.

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at cowens@bdtonline.com. Follow him @BDTOwens.

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