Thanksgiving Is Not Black Friday

Black Friday
Photo: Michael Holden

Thanksgiving used to be a sacred American family day—it was a day for feasting, for football, for reconnecting with parents, siblings, children and the rest of our extended clan. It used to feel a bit “cleaner” than Christmas.

Thanksgiving was a holiday without all the commerce, but Black Friday—the nation’s ultimate day of commerce—has slowly slithered into America’s collective unconscious and now seems to overshadow the holiday that comes before it.

The change has never been as evident as it is this year. In the past, Thanksgiving was free of the shopping madness until the following day—then Black Friday moved to midnight after the holiday meal. Now retailers are hoping to cash in on the hype by opening on Thanksgiving Day and getting an early jump on the Black Friday bonanza.

When I watch in abject horror and disgust the many online videos of people stampeding into their local big box stores on Black Friday, trampling other shoppers, fighting in the aisles and generally behaving like animals, I can’t help but think this extension of “the biggest shopping day of the year” is misguided. Do we really need to give those rabid, frothing grownups more opportunities to rip an XBOX One out of a crying child’s hands, or more time to worship at the Doorbuster altar?

Perhaps the additional few hours will thin the herd, but I’m guessing this move will just add to the frenzy and desperate sense that people need to get into stores “now, now, now!” before they miss the super  sales. For some reason, this Black Friday concept feeds into the baser instincts of our populace—and now it’s edged its way into our so-called “sacred family holiday,” and I don’t like it one bit.

The worst part? No one needs to take part in this hideous insanity. The sales exist online and continue past Black Friday. So please ignore the hype and don’t shop on Thanksgiving. If this didn’t convince you, just watch the video below and ask yourself, “Is this MY Thanksgiving experience? Do I want it to be?”

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