On Thursday, our nation will celebrate a holiday of thankfulness. Families and friends will come together for a huge meal of turkey and ham and stuffing and casseroles and green beans and corn and pies and coffee and many more delicious things. Football will be on the TV, and card games will occur, and there will probably be walks around the neighborhood, too. Movies will be watched (and slept through). Stories will be told, and little kids will make a mess on the living room floor. There will laughter and reunions and fellowship. There will be food comas and thankfulness.
And on Friday (or if you’re turkey daze wears off early, Thursday night), our nation will venture out to a million different stores and wait in line to shop. People will set up tents outside department stores or set their alarms for 3 am, pour their coffee and ready their pocket books for the incoming hit. Not even 24 hours after our day dedicated to thankful hearts, we go out and participate in mass consumerism. Does anyone else find that ironic?
Sure, Black Friday has great deals for Christmas gifts…but since when did Christmas become about giving things? Holidays, which used to be days of respect and remembrance, have been turned into opportunities to give and get things we really don’t need.
Technically, Black Friday isn’t a holiday, of course. In fact, according to an article by Sarah Pruitt for History it started out as a term used by Philadelphia police in the 1950s to refer to the mass chaos that happened the day before the Army-Navy football game that happened the Saturday after Thanksgiving each year. Not only were there mass crowds and traffic, but shoplifting was also a big problem. However, retailers have turned the term into a positive thing. Now, the term is supposed to refer to the day when stores move from the "red" of operating at a loss to the "black" of making a profit.
This year, I will be hiding away from the crowds at home. I don’t normally participate in the Black Friday craze, anyways, but this year I’ve found it very refreshing to ignore it altogether. Since I don’t have a TV with cable in my apartment, I don’t see all the commercials advertising sale after deal-breaking sale. It’s been nice. I’m not constantly reminded of what I don’t have but should. I’m no longer conditioned to think I need to rush out and spend money in order to save it. I understand the point of using the sales, and I certainly don’t condemn anyone who does, but I’ve found that I don’t need to. I don’t need anything. Sure, I need food and water and all the general necessities of life. But the newest high-priced piece of technology I’m not smart enough to fully comprehend all its uses? No, thanks, I’ll pass.
This Thanksgiving season, I’ll be focusing on what I do have, what I’m thankful for. That’s enough, already. I have plenty. I have family and friends that are family. I have a boyfriend who buys me food and sweaters (yeah, he’s a keeper). I have a warm bed and an overflowing bookshelf and a satisfied heart. I don’t need Black Friday or retailers to show me what I need. I already have what I need, and I’m going to spend my time being thankful for it.