We, as a nation, set aside one day a year to give thanks for the blessings we have already received. Is it too much to ask that families can be allowed to gather for a traditional meal, parades and football, which are the traditions that have grown around the Pilgrim's holiday? After all, there's absolutely nothing in the origins or orientation of this holiday to suggest that greed, acquisition, profits or any other of the baser human drives should have anything to do with it. I may tend to err a bit on the Norman Rockwell side, but I really love the tradition of gratitude, because I know just how powerful it is to focus on being thankful for what one has as a way to instill a sense of of abundance, instead of one of lack and limitation.
I find the whole prospect of people lining up and trampling each other while crowding into these holiday-breakers' stores really kind of pathetic and sad, as well as antithetical to giving thanks. There is actual trampling, pushing, shoving, grabbing for bargains -- a total freak show of rude, reckless and hurtful behavior which makes me actually despair for peoples' sanity. What's next? Perhaps we can televise the trampling of the shoppers like the running of the bulls in Spain, as a spectator's sporting event? Why miss out on that profit? It could even become a new Thanksgiving Day tradition!
For years now, I have completely boycotted Black Friday by refusing to make any purchases on that day--either in person or online. I am essentially voting with my absence, voting by keeping my pocketbook closed against the lack of respect shown for Thankgiving by turning it into an excuse for greedy grabby consumerism at its worst. If you are like-minded, why not join me? Stay home, go for a walk, spend time with family playing games, sharing photos, talking (yes, actual conversation can be very enlightening!). Annie Leonard has put these ideas into a powerful, short video that you can enjoy below.
Happy Thanks - giving! Enjoy the process of being grateful for the blessings in your life, and the idea that we can return to a gentler, happier way of being where gratitude and family are more important than consumerism and greed.