Thankfulness is in the air. All around us we see people making month long lists and planning “thankfulness” centerpieces. Many of us will gather around a ridiculous amount of food in a few days and between mouthfuls we’ll say that we’re thankful for this and that. Then we’ll wander away from the table, bellies full and eyelids drooping.
Don’t get me wrong, dear reader, I love Thanksgiving. I love that is a major holiday without presents and I kind of love that it gets passed over on the store shelves. I love planning and preparing activities and food. I love the simple traditions before a busy holiday season.
But, there is a shadow that lurks behind Thanksgiving Day. Something that taints the spirit of the entire day. It is not the history behind the holiday – it is easy to dismiss the past of a holiday created during a period of white-washed history and save the good the left over. No, it is not that which spoils the holiday. It is not even the day itself, it is the day after. The shadow of Thanksgiving; the black day. Black Friday.
There are those of you now rolling your eyes at my melodrama. There are those of you getting ready to type out a hasty “Now listen here young lady.” There are probably a few you who are heating up the tar and finding your bag of feathers, but hear me out.
On Thursday we spend the day feasting and celebrating; we tell each other that we are thankful for the food on our plates, the clothes on our backs and the roof over our head. We say we are thankful for friends and family and the time spent with each other. Then so many of us go to bed that night full of Thankfulness only to wake up the next morning and shoot Thankfulness in the knee caps. We leave Thankfulness stuttering in the driveway as we pull away in the pitch black morning to prove that we aren’t very thankful at all; we don’t have all we could possibly need, in fact we need more of what we don’t have and we prefer it imported, shoddily made and cheap.
Black Friday has become an entity in and of itself. It’s a huge monster that announces itself months in advance. We start planning our shopping routes before we know if Thanksgiving will be at Aunt Mary’s or Grandma’s this year. We drag the young and old out of the warm beds that yesterday we were so thankful to provide. We create mass hysteria that can no longer be seen as naive and innocent; it is harmful and even deadly. We encourage and justify the “creep”; infringing on others day of thankfulness just so we can get that perfect deal.
Most of you already, at the point in the season, know what your plans for Friday will be and I know there is little I can do to sway you. But I hope, if nothing else, I can encourage you to consider a few things. I hope you will consider where the money you spend will be sent. I hope you will consider the conditions of the people who make the products and ring up the sales. I hope you will consider alternate times and places in which to spend your money. I hope you will consider those whose choice on Thanksgiving night is to go to work or loose their job. I hope you will consider the safety of those around you. I hope you will consider the message it sends to those dear to you.
In closing, my friends, I just want to say a few things. I am not against shopping. In fact, I’m quite fond of it. I am not fond of a non-tradition that is continually bringing out the worst in our population. I’m not fond of that fact that many retailers are beginning to “creep” into the actual Thanksgiving Day. I’m not fond of how the big box stores know you’re coming and that you’re probably cold and sleep deprived and stuff their aisles with cheap product that has little to no real use because it will look good at four o’clock in the morning and it is because of this we’ll be staying home on Friday.
I encourage you to do the same. Watch more movies, read a book, snuggle, roughhouse, eat more leftovers and give yourself one more day to truly embody the words “I am Thankful.”