Many people consider Thanksgiving to be nothing more than a holiday to skip over. Compared to Christmas, the emotion and comradery behind the holiday goes ignored in favor of catchy music and classic movies.
However, Thanksgiving is still a very personal holiday, and each family has its own time-honored traditions associated with the day. Generally, such traditions are fairly low-maintenance, though. Because of this, the best things that corporations have to sell us are pumpkins and turkey — which, to be honest, kind of sell themselves. There is no need for large purchases or grandiose gestures for a simplistic holiday that is rooted in eating a meal together and enjoying each other’s company. Therefore, beyond the actual turkey and pies purchased for the meal, Thanksgiving requires few trips to the store.
For this reason, Black Friday was created as a way to get people to spend money. This has obviously been very successful (maybe a bit too successful), but it really has nothing to do with Thanksgiving. In fact, the cause could be considered the opposite of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is all about being thankful and enjoying time with family. Black Friday, however, is all about greed and spending money. Black Friday has grown to be a bigger deal every year, with stores opening earlier than ever and advertising more aggressively. Stores have started opening as early as 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, with people lining up hours in advance and even camping out the night before despite the temperatures often being well below freezing.
But Black Friday has also been slowly changing over the years, with the addition of Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. These additions have worked to alleviate some of the Friday crowds and include other businesses and stores that can’t draw the same crowds that large department stores can. These additions also help everyone get in on the great deals. Small Business Saturday is a more relaxed way to browse stores and a great way to give back to your community. Cyber Monday is the ideal option for those, like me, who do not wish to stand outside in freezing temperatures just to barge through the doors and fight hoards of determined people.
So, is this pure insanity or a welcome holiday tradition? Well, that’s up to you to decide. Whatever you choose, I think Black Friday (and its friends) are here to stay. However you choose to spend your holiday week, remember to stay safe and enjoy time with family because that’s what the holidays are all about.