One of the great American holidays is this week – Thanksgiving. You thought I was going to say “Black Friday” didn’t you? The fact is that Thanksgiving is one holiday that is celebrated by just about every American – regardless of visible race, creed, or political beliefs. Many churches and community centers even go “off schedule” and offer a Thanksgiving Dinner to those who can’t be with family or afford their own feast.
However, it’s recently started to become overshadowed by Christmas and the consumerism that goes along with that holiday as “Black Friday” sales start earlier; and earlier every year and “Black Friday” is starting to become it’s own holiday. I’ve seen family members push themselves away from the table where they have just listed all that they were thankful for in order to rummage through the sales flyers and plan their itinerary for the next 24 hours of shopping.
Frankly, it’s absurd. And the thing that I don’t get, is that so many people rail against “Black Friday” and yet it continues to happen. It’s like baking carob chip cookies. If you believe chocolate is bad for you or the planet, but still want those cookies, don’t rationalize that the carob cookies are better or ok. You’re still using the same recipe and they are still cookies with chips of chocolate like goodness. A cookie is still a cookie.
Let’s face it, Black Friday falls the day after Thanksgiving – which means there are friends and family around, and you’re most likely (unless you work in retail or a service industry) enjoying the day off. This means it’s a great time to spend some time with those people you love, doing things like going to the movies, eating out, and shopping. Yes, shopping.
Some of my best memories involve shopping. My GrandMa Dottie loved taking us to her local mall; she would give each of her grandkids their Christmas money and we would all go shopping. The deal was that we had to spend all of our money – she wanted to see what each of us would spend it on. It was her way of seeing what clothes we liked to wear; what our favorite colors were; our styles; our preferences – clothes, art supplies, hair accessories, or shoes. And it was a fun way to spend the day with the cousins, aunts, and uncles, too.
So why all the hullabaloo about how evil Black Friday is? Yes, it takes consumerism to a whole new level. But only if we let it. You’re still in control of how you spend your money and your time on Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving. So if you like shopping, go shopping. If you don’t like shopping, don’t go.
No matter what you choose to do on the Friday after a day of sharing all that you’re thankful for with your closest friends and family, try to remember – this season isn’t about the deal on the TV you don’t need. It’s ok to shop on Friday, just don’t expect everyone to think it’s a brilliant idea and share your enthusiasm – and don’t expect everyone to be happy about the sales starting earlier and earlier. Thursday is for stuffing our bellies full of turkey. Friday is simply Friday.
However you prefer your Thursday and Friday, I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving.