Friday, November 26, 2010

The "Black Friday" Grinch

I admit it, when I was very little, Christmas was my favorite holiday, because you get presents. As I grew, I came to see how much better Thanksgiving is. It's a "no pressure" holiday. A simple day to gather with those you love and think of all you have to be thankful for.
I had a nice quiet Thanksgiving. We are a small family, so I always feel a bit lonely, in fact, at how quiet my Thanksgiving is.
When I was a little girl, Thanksgiving was so wonderful- the perfect Norman Rockwell holiday. We'd go to my Grandmother's house and maybe be the first to arrive, but more often than not, my uncle and his family would already be there. That meant a happy reunion with my "first boyfriend", my cousin Craig! By the end of the day, my aunt and great aunt would arrive and the house would be full. We ate and played games around the big dining room table I now have in my own home. Sometimes other family would come for the day. Others we went to my great grandmother's house to meet up with more uncles and distant cousins. It's a time for families to gather, for connections to be made, for old arguments to resurface and then be forgotten again. And the food, Thanksgiving is all about the food!
But no more. Now Thanksgiving is just "the buffet in between" (as Loudon Wainright III said) Halloween and Christmas. A day to plan your attack for the "Black Friday" shopping. I imagine there are even those who don't do the big meal until the weekend so they have Thursday free to shop the very early sales, or to get much needed rest before heading out to be first inline at 4 AM. I hate Black Friday. If I were a Grinch who could steal a day, it would be this one.
The retail industry has made greed and avarice acceptable, even- for some people- fun! I don't hold it against anyone who is really in need of something and wants to get the best deal. We all do that. But they have preyed on the fact that we are all "obligated" to spend this time of year. They all want to be the first to get their numbers in the black. (I blame Walmart, of course, since all the other retailers follow them now) It makes me sad and not a little bit angry.
I have felt for several years like Christmas is a bomb that gets dropped on us every year. I don't want to be a part of this madness. The funny part is when I say something like this, many people agree with me. So why not opt out of it? If a few do it, it doesn't make a difference. If a LOT of us do it, maybe we can reclaim Thanksgiving AND Christmas- which is after all a season of giving; a season of joy for all who believe the world was changed for the better on this day 2000 years ago.
I'll be giving my usual gift of a plate of home made cookies to most of the people around me. It's a simple gesture to show I have thought of them this season. Sadly, most people who I give a few cookies to feel obliged to go buy me something.

I am grateful for:
Hot turkey sandwiches the day after Thanksgiving!
My new computer
I live in a place where I can rant all I want to
The men and women who cannot be with their families at this time of year to protect my freedoms
My favorite men- Al, Guy and Lucas

Apologies to any who feel personally attacked. It was not my intent to single anyone out, and my ire is directed at the stores, not you!


  1. Mattie, I agree with you 100% Even though I now work in retail I still think the greediness and materialism in our society is way overboard. I'd be happy to receive one of your lovely plates of cookies. They look so delicious!

  2. No offense taken... we all have our own traditions... BF sales have become mine & FR's as we prepare for our family gift-giving.

    And yet, I long for the days when families made their gifts for one another.