Let’s Blackout “Black Friday” and Focus on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends!

Or should I be wishing you “Happy Shopping Craze”?

Shopping CrazeI hope it’s the former, and I hope you don’t choose to place yourselves in the scene depicted in this blog post.

I always find myself having mixed feelings when American Thanksgiving arrives (for those who aren’t aware, in Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving on the first Monday of October).

The reason for my mixed feelings? The increasing commercialization of this holiday that started out genuinely as a time of giving thanks (for a successful harvest, among other things).  As an aside, I am thankful (pun intended) to have our Thanksgiving in early-mid October.  It’s a lovely time of year weather-wise to have it (gorgeous weather and stunningly beautiful multi-coloured leaves on the trees). Furthermore, it is situated roughly half-way between the end of summer holidays and the Christmas a.k.a. Holiday season, which makes for a perfect “pause” in the busy autumn season.

But I digress. Back to my main topic.

As I said, Thanksgiving started out as a time for feeling and expressing gratitude. But more and more, it seems that the “shopping” aspect of this “holiday” is taking over (or HAS taken over).  As if Black Friday weren’t already enough, retailers added “Cyber Monday” in 2005 as a way of cranking it up. Meanwhile, store openings on Friday crept earlier and earlier: 6am, 5am, 4am. People started camping out overnight so they coul be first in line. Then in 2011 some companies started opening at midnight on Thanksgiving Day, and in 2012 most of the nations biggest retailers started opening ON THANKSGIVING DAY (Thursday) for Black Friday sales. REALLY?

And the latest news: Walmart – in its infinite wisdom – is now starting Cyber Monday on Sunday night at 8pm.

Unbelievable.

See this article for details: Is Nothing Sacred Anymore? Now Walmart is Starting Cyber Monday on a Sunday.

Sadly, in recent years, Black Friday seems to have made its way to Canada, and has become more prominent. YUCK!!

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a real shame to dilute a potentially lovely family holiday with all of this. Who really needs all that junk anyway?  We all know that buying “stuff” rarely makes us happier. And if it does, it lasts a short time and then we look for the next “fix”.  And what about all the workers in these stores?  Retail employees are already some of the lowest paid employees out there. Now they get pulled away from their families even sooner – all because of…what? Greed?

I’m not sure what all of this is in service of, and I’m not sure where it will all end. But it doesn’t seem like a positive development as far as human well-being is concerned.

So, on this American Thanksgiving Day, my wish to my American friends (and anyone else affected by the “noise” around this theoretically lovely holiday), is for you to stop, reflect, give thanks, and BE with your loved ones. 

After all, we are called “human beings“, not “human doings” or “human havings”.

Wishing peace and equanimity to all.

 

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