I’m not going near one of the super stores this Friday, or on Thanksgiving Day either. I live 90 miles from the nearest one so it’s not too hard to make that pledge, but even if one were next door I’d avoid it. As for shopping on Thanksgiving, forget it! The poor employees, who probably aren’t making enough to afford most of what they’re selling, need the day off to spend with their families, watch a football game, and relax.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, in part because it’s not sullied by rampant materialism, but recently stores are opening late on that day, too. I can imagine their opening hours creeping earlier and earlier until the holiday itself is co-opted by commercialism.
It was Abraham Lincoln who, in 1864 at the height of the Civil War, declared the last Thursday in November to be a National holiday, set aside for giving thanks. So we owe our 16th prez our thanks for Thanksgiving.
The idea of holiday shopping beginning the day after turkey day originated in 1924 when Macy’s held their first Thanksgiving Day parade. Retailers geared up for shoppers and looked forward to the sales generated between the holidays.
In 1939, Thanksgiving was due to fall on the fifth Thursday, November 30, thus shortening the days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Merchants and shopkeepers petitioned President Roosevelt for help. Their timing was good as the U.S. was still struggling through the Great Depression, and FDR wanted to do whatever he could to stimulate the economy. So in October of that year, he moved Thanksgiving to the 4th Thursday in November. Not too surprisingly, his declaration didn’t please everyone, and many people stuck to the old calendar until 1941 when Congress made it law.
The day after Thanksgiving was named Black Friday by the Philadelphia police because of the awful traffic jams created by shoppers. Retailers, understandably, weren’t crazy about that association, so they began to refer to it as the day they passed from red to black on their balance sheets. Although that isn’t true for many of the big retailers who are profitable all year, the idea has stuck.
Of course it’s not necessary to join the throngs clogging the streets and pushing and shoving their fellow bargain hunters. Anyone with a connection to the internet has probably figured out how to take advantage of the low prices on Black Friday without leaving home. Which brings us to my one day offer of my new Happiness Cards: They will be available at the LOW price of $10 a box on Friday, and I’ll pay the shipping. They make super gifts! What could be better than providing your friends and family with a beautiful and inspiring way to spread a little happiness in the New Year.