Today is Not Black Friday

Today is Thanksgiving and as usual I’m up at 5AM. I didn’t mean to get up this early. I meant to “sleep in” until six. But as unnatural as it seems to wake up when it’s this dark and cold, I did wake up naturally. The pull of the computer and a blog post I had spinning around in my head got me to push my cozy flannel comforter off of myself and get up instead of burrowing in and trying to go back to sleep. That and I may have been having a hot flash. (Not that I would ever admit to that.)

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the things I am always thankful for. My family most of all of course. Our health. My many wonderful friends who fill my life with laughter. My house and the town that it’s planted in that feels like a modern-day Mayberry to me despite its close proximity to Los Angeles. Wine. (Yeah, you knew that was coming!) I have a job that I like that is only twelve minutes away from my Mayberry house (in a town that is more like Beverly Hills West). I have a good life. We have a good life.

Thanksgiving veggie tray

Our kids are growing up way too fast. Really, if someone wants to become the richest person in the world, what they need to do is figure out how to slow it all down. My son will be graduating high school in a year and a half – his childhood over. I don’t want it to stop, but can’t someone figure out how to make it stop happening at warp speed? It’s so hard to slow down when life moves so fast.

One thing I am truly not thankful for this Thanksgiving is the terrible trend of Black Friday sales taking place today. On Thanksgiving. How is a sale that takes place on Thanksgiving, which if I know how to read a calendar is certainly a Thursday, called Black Friday?!

I find it ironic that we’ve turned this American holiday of giving thanks into a “holiday” of competitive shopping. Forget about being thankful for what you have, go buy more, More, MORE. (And don’t be afraid to push someone out of the way to get it.)

Look, I get that some businesses are open on Thanksgiving. Maybe I’m a hypocrite because I’m quite thankful that my gym is open today (for limited hours – only 6:00 – 1:00) so I can take a 90 minute kickboxing class this morning and don’t have to run.

And I know that movie theaters are open so when families have stuffed themselves fuller than the stuffed turkey they just inhaled they can sit together in a dark comfortable room and watch Katniss Everdeen reluctantly murder her peers instead of hearing Great Aunt June tell everyone about the time she was chosen as the county fair cornfield queen for the 27th time (today). I get it. As a former movie theater employee who had to work on Thanksgiving, I don’t like it, but I get it.

And yes, most markets are open because we all forget things. Celery for stuffing. Milk for the mashed potatoes. Asti Spumante for the uncouth relative who prefers the guilty pleasure of a sweet sparkling wine to a buttery Chardonnay with her turkey. (Who me?) But markets are open to help people with their holidays – not take away from it. And if you want my honest opinion I think markets are open too long. Take a cue from my gym and be open from 6:00 to 1:00 or maybe 8:00 to 3:00. Closing at 7:00 may seem early, but I’m sure it doesn’t seem early for the employees. If you haven’t bought your celery or cheap wine by 3:00 you should be out of luck. Can’t we make things a little bit inconvenient for Americans just a few precious days of the year? Perhaps that will help us to feel even more thankful for just how good we’ve got it.

So tonight I will not be shopping any Black Friday Black Thursday Thanksgiving sales. And look – I’m on a budget. If there’s anyone who needs to save money it’s me. But if you’re planning on shopping tonight, I want you to ask yourself this – who are you shopping for? Yourself or your family? If the answer is your family you might want to think twice about heading out for those sales tonight. Because in ten years they likely won’t remember what they got for Christmas this year, but they’ll certainly remember mom not being around on Thanksgiving after dinner when everyone is relaxing and playing Bananagrams because she had to go wait in line to save 50%. So I propose that this Thanksgiving we all slow down and take a look around at all that we have. The X-Box can wait (and will probably still be there at 5AM tomorrow when the kids are sleeping if you really need it). Slow down. Pull out the Monopoly board. Tell Great Aunt June you bet she was the prettiest county fair cornfield queen there ever was (for the 27th time today). Don’t let retailers steal your holiday. Life is already happening at warp speed.

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