When Thanksgiving was made an official US holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, he proclaimed: “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens… to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” In recent years, however, the hallowed tradition of giving thanks to God has been lost to rampant commercialism. The reverential holiday of Thanksgiving has spawned “Black Friday”, the biggest shopping day of the year.
Black Friday has been out of control for the past few years, with rioting shoppers and deal-seekers camping out for days ahead of time. But now retailers like Wal-Mart and Target are opening their doors for Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving itself, or “Black Thursday” as some have deemed it. This expansion of the shopaholic bug has officially crossed the line from ridiculous to alarming; what was once a holiday designated for gathering with loved ones and thanking God for blessings has become an epic days-long shop-‘til-you-drop extravaganza.
Black Friday epitomizes the over-commercialization of the holidays. As CNN’s Bob Greene puts it: “In the universe of holidays, it is the only one that exists solely to sell merchandise”. But if we as a society and we as consumers decide to shun Black Friday and Thursday and just stay home, rather than try to acquire the most stuff, we can appreciate and celebrate the friends, family, and God, and actually give thanks!