Black Friday: Bah, Humbug

Black Friday gets blacker every year as the Christmas season expands. Can we get a grip on that?

Black Friday through Cyber Monday have come and gone, and I don't really care. Perhaps I'm a scrooge. Or I'm un-American for not being into the rabid retail feeding frenzy. I think it's just that I've surpassed my limit on the imposed cheer and coerced need to spend as retailers poked through the Black Friday firewall into Thanksgiving in many states.

Any bets on when stores will start to open Thanksgiving morning? (in the absence of Mass blue laws) We can go to BestBuy and Target, watch the Macy's parade or Belmont-Watertown football game, then try to bend our moods into being thankful for the great deals we just got.

Black Friday gets blacker every year. Thanksgiving should be about family and food (and even football) and just hanging out and relaxing. Yes, there is the stress of the big family dinner (as my wife reminded me). Why mix shopping in with that? Even traveling the Mass pike a day or 2 early (before my kids were in school) is more pleasant than thinking about shopping. There is plenty of time to shop and stress about Christmas. Why allow it to invade Thanksgiving? Is standing in line at 4am worth the $50 savings? Will those extra days make us spend any more? 24 vs 30 shopping days until Christmas - who cares?

I never was all that excited about the Christmas "season", which now is from somewhere around Nov 1 to Dec 26. But I don't want to see Christmas decorations until December. When FM 103.3 started all Christmas music at Thanksgiving a few years ago, it was bumped as a pre-set station on my car radio. I don't want Christmas music until that pink advent candle is lit. For me the tree does not go up until a week to 10 days before Christmas, and stays up until after New Year's. It does not come down when CVS puts out the candy hearts on Dec 29.

Every year the media (including Patch) make a bigger deal about Black Friday. When are stores open, how much more will we spend over last year, what retailers are predicting, etc. Spend, spend, spend. Why does no one ask "Are you happier than you were last year?" "What did you do with your family over the long Thanksgiving weekend?" "Do you want to go see Lincoln?" "Did you go to your high school reunion?" Right, it's because no one rakes in money on that, and no one tunes in for the story.

There is probably one thing we need to spend more of - time. Time with our kids, our parents, friends, or even by ourselves - without an iPod or smart phone.

Lest you think I'm not a total scrooge, I do like a few weeks worth of lighted houses, driving to see the lights on the Boston Common, Christmas music, midnight Mass, Yankee swaps, and even generic company "holiday" parties. But if any holiday expands it's traditional bounds, lets we make it because we want it to, not because corporations and the media manipulate us to do that. I think my point is this: as Linus tried to express in the Charlie Brown Christmas from way back, get away from the commercialism and care about our friends, families, homes, and town.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Brian Rogers December 01, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Yes John, Black Friday has now become Dark Thursday-Friday. For more insights on this uniquely American holiday spectacle, I invite you to read: http://tinyurl.com/dyb448k


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