Forget the Turkey, It’s Time to Shop: Black Friday’s Thanksgiving Invasion

BY: KACIE GROSSMEIER

I am really excited for Christmas. Now that Halloween is over, my sights are set on making it to that big day. When this article is distributed around campus, there will be 37 days left until Christmas Day. Yes, I am counting. Actually, lots of people are.

Oh but wait. Isn’t there something we are missing? That other holiday before Christmas? Thanksgiving lives in Christmas’s shadow. It’s that bump in the road on the way to Christmas. Not that it’s a bad day. But who looks forward to Thanksgiving like they do Christmas? Do the stores even put Thanksgiving decorations up?

It’s like it comes as a surprise, treated more like a vacation than a holiday. Thanksgiving pales in comparison to Christmas these days. Perhaps that is why what used to be the kick off to holiday shopping, the “Day After Thanksgiving Day Sale” or “Black Friday” (emphasis on the “after” and “Friday”) has crept its way into Thanksgiving Day.

The Thanksgiving tradition is meant for coming together and celebrating all we have succeeded in, all we have accomplished and all we possess. Unfortunately, the American holiday of gratefulness, turkey and football has adopted a new tradition.

It was bad enough when people trampled each other for TVs the day after being thankful for all they had. It became controversial when it was happening at five in the morning and then midnight. It is downright mad that it is about to happen this year starting at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day at your local Bay Park Square Mall.

I don’t know about you, but I am nowhere near out of my food coma by this time. If anything, I’m just getting ready for seconds. Now the stores want me to ditch my stretchy sweatpants by 5 p.m. if I want to get a good deal?

I love a good sale, but how far do I need to go to get there? Leaving my family on the day I am supposed to be grateful for all they do for me so I can race some overly-caffeinated shoppers to the last 20-dollar crockpot? Is this the American way?

I’m not trying to get all nostalgic, but I don’t think the Pilgrims would be so pleased. I miss the days when holidays were meant for family and friends, giving and loving, for spreading joy and compassion to all fellow Americans, whether Indian or European, like in 1621 and no matter what race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, religion or sports affiliate a person may be today. Stores closed down for the whole day so people could celebrate the holiday. I am sad that this sense of fellowship that originally accompanied Thanksgiving, that made it a national holiday, has become overshadowed by sales that aren’t even the best deals of the year.

Look, I love Christmas, I love shopping and I love giving people the perfect present. However, holidays are sacred events in and of themselves and are undeserving of the giant dollar sign that looms over them. I’m not saying Black Friday is bad. I just wish it would go back to being on Friday.

Sadly, I can’t boycott the entire Black Friday event. On November 28, I will be taking my dutiful post behind the register at my retail job, servicing all you dedicated shoppers. Luckily, I was allowed off on Thanksgiving to spend the day back home with my family, but I know my co-workers and the thousands of other retail workers out there will be running the stores when they should be celebrating the holiday, too.

My Christmas wish for you as we move into the holiday season: keep the spirit of giving and celebrating in your hearts and don’t let a sale take you away from celebrating all that you already have.

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