On the Friday after Thanksgiving, I will not be one of those crazed 4:30 a.m. too-much-Starbucks-gotta-get-out-there-first kinda girls. I shall sleep until at least 7:30 a.m., have my usual cup of Joe, put on my fuzzy house shoes and spend some time thanking God that I was not among those fighting for a parking spot at the Mall. Later that afternoon the whole family will be gearing up for Game Day, where Scrabble, Loaded Questions and Trivial Pursuit will be the only battles we fight into the wee hours of the night. I would rather have my toenails pulled off by a pair of pliers than leave my home on the day after Thanksgiving only to get run over at the corner of Lovell Road and Turkey Creek. But alas, apparently I am like a lone salmon swimming up steam in my little world.
Something alarming is happening to our holiday season. I read an article just last week about how Black Friday is creeping backward into Thanksgiving Day. Rumor has it that by next year, Americans will be leaving their afternoon turkey meal on Thursday in order to get to the 'best deals of the season.' Really? I say, stop the insanity! Christmas shopping is supposed to be an enjoyable time to pick out thoughtful gifts for the people I love most in my life. Shopping on Black Friday seems to be about saving more money than everyone around you and beating everyone to the most-wanted presents. When did Christmas shopping become a competition anyway?
Does anyone out there remember the fights over Cabbage Patch Dolls or the horrible story of people getting mauled at WalMart? Somehow, that just doesn't sound enjoyable to me. So when girlfriends call or a friend at work asks if I want to join them on their shopping spree on Black Friday, the dark recesses of my mind begin to swell with visions of a crazed woman beating me to a pulp in the shoe department at Belk with a stiletto over the last pair of size 7 1/2 shoes. In response, I simply take a deep breath, and say "no thanks." I have never been a Black Friday shopper and I don’t encourage my daughters to do it either. Where is the spirit of Christmas in all of us? What are we teaching our children about the meaning of the holidays or the appropriateness of what a Southern girl will risk her life for?
News flash American Women: shopping is not a contact sport nor should it be hazardous to your health. Christmas shopping is supposed to be fun, enjoyable, somehow magical. Christmas shopping should not have winners and losers. And focusing on saving more than everyone else makes people lose sight of the reasons we exchange gifts in the first place. Instead of worrying about how much money I’m saving or if I am going to be trampled to death by over-caffeinated shoppers assembled in a mosh pit, I would rather think about the look on my granddaughter’s face as she rips open a package on Christmas morning or envision my husband turning our great room into his putting green while trying out that new golf club he just received. These are the things that I want to occupy my mind as I am spending my hard-earned dough.
Black Friday has very little to do with the holidays and a lot more to do with greed if you ask me. I would rather stay home and enjoy the family - maybe even put up the tree - than risk my life in a sea of aggressive shoppers who are hungry for 'beating me' to the good deals. I’ll happily pay a little extra to keep the holiday spirit in my Christmas gift-giving and keep my sanity for as long as I possibly can. Lord knows there are plenty of other battles for me to fight in this life than beating someone to the last $300 flat screen TV in Knoxville.