Essay — Missing Thanksgiving

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I can remember a time in Carpenter Country when November meant Thanksgiving—and only Thanksgiving. Back in the day, we talked about what size turkey to buy, how many desserts to bake and who was hosting the big feast.

Then along came Black Friday, and the table talk shifted from, “Can I have a turkey sandwich?” to “Which store is having the best sales?”

Image Source

Image Source

I’m not a big shopper, but I figured there had to be a story behind all this hoopla. Here’s what I found out. The surge in shopping the day after Thanksgiving goes back to early 20th century Macy’s Day parades. Billed as the official start of the holiday season, the big advertising campaigns spurred crowds to head for stores as soon as the final float trundled by.

So what initiated the term Black Friday? To my amazement, there were quite a few theories. Unfortunately, most weren’t true. For instance, while the Great Depression of 1929 was certainly filled with dark despair, it didn’t happen on a Friday.

More likely, the media coined the phrase sometime in the 1960’s, probably fueled by the black mood of bus and taxi drivers fighting their way through traffic jams, and the angry groans of disgruntled store employees swamped by pushing, shoving, overzealous crowds. Whatever the reason, two decades later Black Friday had morphed into a synonym for landing-good-deals-after-turkey-day.

This year Black Friday, along with its cohort Cyber Monday, will start earlier, maybe even before the bird is stuffed and in the oven.

Well, no way am I missing a turkey dinner. I can shop anytime, but Thanksgiving only comes once a year.

And to paraphrase an unknown poet-

-I’m thankful for the eats!

Wishing everyone a wonderful November 22.


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