Black Friday the new Thanksgiving?

Written by: The Xavierite Editorial Board

November 8th, 2017

Fall, what’s not to love about the season? You’re able to break out those ironically ugly-turned-cute sweaters, it seems like everyone and their mother are releasing their Pumpkin Spiced everything, and there is at least one major holiday to celebrate from October to December.

As we are nearing the end of 2017, in the middle of the holiday gauntlet, a common narrative seems to occur that has spanned the recent years. Instead of following the Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas narrative, it seems to go more like Halloween-Black Friday-Christmas.

Black Friday sales have been steadily increasing since the stock market crash of 2008, and this years sales have been projected to make 682 billion.

In order to keep sales climbing, retailers and major corporations have increased the amount of days their sales last. Instead of one singular day, there is the well known Cyber Monday, along with other corporations offering select deals on the day before and even the day of, Thanksgiving.

Surprisingly, the week before Thanksgiving is when there are the best deals for major retailers. Online, the best deals are on Thanksgiving day, rather than Cyber Monday.

It is one thing to have a day dedicated to discounts and snagging that iPhone X for half-off, but should that day be so close to Thanksgiving, so much so that it virtually encompasses the holiday itself.

Rather than seeing turkey ads promoting interpersonal interaction over the promoted brand of bird, we are bombarded by messages of mass consumption of products other than foodstuff.

Why spend time with your loved ones when you can spend time with virtual strangers trying to buy that dollhouse for your nephew that you only see a few times a year, including Thanksgiving and Christmas?

Why converse with great aunt Carol over some vegan turkey when you can furiously type in your credit card information trying to snag a good sale (which is probably only 80% off and “cheap” because the prices were inflated a week before, and most likely produced under inhumane working conditions)?

Point is, when did material items become more important than the memories made through interpersonal interactions with loved ones?

Yes, Black Friday offers the opportunity for cash-strapped individuals to purchase items that would be previously financially unavailable to them, but when the items become the sole focus rather than for who that item is for is when it becomes a problem.

Eventually little Timmy will outgrow the sweaters you’ve gotten for 45 percent off, Clara’s building blocks will eventually lay forgotten in favor for some hi-tech gadget, and the only thing that would stay the same is the advertised compulsion to buy more and more to fill whatever void within ourselves that seems unaddressable at the moment.

Having things is nice. Items of status help you fit in and avoid bullying from Billy on the playground, or from Chad near the copying machine. Materialism is ingrained in our culture as is cornfields are in Illinois.  Always visible, always there, but it is our choice to take part in it.

Instead of leaving Thanksgiving dinner early to get in line at your local retailer, maybe reach for a second helping and strike up a conversation about how this tofu-turkey almost tastes like real turkey with your health-conscious host.

Maybe hug your loved ones a little tighter and use this season of reflection to be thankful for what you have, rather than chasing after what you want.

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