Does Black Friday take the Giving out of Thanksgiving?

By: Jessa Glassman ’20

After a tiring and busy first few months of school, Thanksgiving break is something we all anticipate because it is our first substantial amount of time off. Many of us get to spend time with our families, near and far. It is a time to give thanks, relax and take a break from school and to be with family. But don’t forget, there is shopping too!

On Black Friday, Americans spend upwards of 50 billion dollars on retail, technology and more. To many people, Black Friday is a highlight of their Thanksgiving break because of the stellar deals and ability to get ahead on winter holiday shopping while being cost effective. Every year store opening times get earlier and earlier. Black Friday used to actually begin on Friday after Thanksgiving after everyone had had time to digest their turkey and get some sleep. Gradually this became less and less the case. It is not uncommon for stores to offer deals on Thanksgiving Day as early as dinnertime, not to mention some sales the entire month of November. With deals like “doorbusters” or “bogo” sales, stores market themselves on any T.V. channel with intriguing commercials that captivate their audience. Many people are deluded and trade spending time with their family at the dinner table for standing in line outside of Target in the cold.

Thanksgiving, a holiday meant to be spent feasting with family, should not be seen as a day with sales or as the day before Black Friday. We all know it is important to give thanks, but it is truly difficult to do that if we are thinking about the new iPad we are planning to buy on sale or if being with family is an after thought. While we might get swept up in the seemingly perfect façade of Black Friday, it is important to step back and take the time to be appreciative. Given the very early starting time of Black Friday, lots of people choose the shops over their family.

Those who skip dinner are not the only ones who are guilty of falling into Black Friday’s trap. Employees at major corporations are offered higher pay to work on Black Friday or even over the holidays in general. Some workers have no choice but to work over the holidays and companies capitalize on this fact by offering higher pay. This further discourages employees from spending the holidays with their families.Those who choose to shop on Black Friday play a part in downgrading Thanksgiving because they do not think about what truly is important.

If we are thinking about shopping for gifts for future holidays, then we are not thinking about the gifts we have already been given and life’s simple presents that we receive each and every day. If shopping is our priority and not Thanksgiving, then we are not pondering the reasons we give thanks but instead thinking about what we plan to purchase. When shoppers hit the stores the day after Thanksgiving, they miss the true value of the holiday and press fast forward onto the winter holidays. The true question that we should ask ourselves come Thanksgiving is what is most important to us. In the moment it might seem like half off heels are more important than a dinner, but shoes easily get worn out while memories last forever.

Even though in a perfect world we wish for amazing deals all the time, it is true that Black Friday is the day with the best sales of the year. Despite this fact, we all have to think about our priorities and values and how we plan to spend the days off, be it with family or shopping. If shopping is the chosen activity, we cannot forget to be grateful, make time to create memories and appreciate all that we have.

 

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