I have never been a big fan of Black Friday. I went once or twice in high school with friends just for something to do. I never actually bought anything since I had about $12 to my name and that isn't even enough for Black Friday deals. Other than that, it has never been my thing. I don't like crowded spaces or waking up earlier than 10 a.m. if I can help it. Cyber Monday is something I can get behind, but definitely not waiting for hours outside Victoria's Secret to get pushed and shoved inside only to save $5 on a bra.
But this is not about my personal dislike of Black Friday festivities. This is about when we, as a society, let Black Friday shopping and cheap deals on Christmas gifts become more important than Thanksgiving itself.
Stores are opening earlier and earlier every year, and we are letting them. I remember a few years ago when it was a big deal that Walmart opened at midnight on Thanksgiving. People began to get upset that the shopping was interfering with the real holiday. Stores are starting to open this year at 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day — 2 p.m. Do you realize how absurd that is? People would rather wait outside JCPenny to get 50% off a sweater than sit down for Thanksgiving dinner with their loved ones, some of them they probably haven't seen since last Thanksgiving.
Stores would not be doing this if consumers were not going for it. If they were not having success opening earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving Day in year's past, they would not continue to push the boundaries and open earlier each year in the future. It is embarrassing that so many people turn out to these events and support the fact that consumerism has a higher priority in our society than family values. If no one showed out, stores would stop doing this. But we encourage it.
So let's stop. Let's all stop starting our shopping on Thanksgiving Day and keep the "Friday" in "Black Friday". Enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner, family football, and post-dinner nap like you should. Catch up with those cousins you haven't seen in a few months. Let those poor Walmart and Kohl's workers enjoy their days with their families too, and not have to worry about getting into work before dinner is served.
We must always remember the reason for the season. At the end of the day, it shouldn't matter how many gifts we bought each other or how much money we saved on them. What matters is being with each other and appreciating the time you get to spend together. Remember that this week when you may be tempted to run out of grandma's house before the pumpkin pie is served.