Black Friday is no more anti-family than conflict at the Thanksgiving table


There’s nothing inherently bad about Black Friday, and now large national retailers have decided to open on Thanksgiving. However, Maine is one of just 3 states that have state laws in place that say “no so fast” to this intrusion on the sanctity of post-turkey, supposedly family-strengthening activities such as afternoon napping and uninterrupted football watching.

As if the irony wasn’t already bad enough that we had to wait until the next day to forget everything we were thankful for, and immediately run out to worship at the altar of “spend now, worry about paying later”.  Now in 47 states the turkey isn’t even cold before we can hit the stores and buy things we don’t even want for people we don’t really like.

However, I’m not anti-Black Friday. I’m just against acting and spending like a crazy person with no particular thought to where our money is going. Furthermore, shopping on Thanksgiving or the day after is no more anti-family than conflict at the Thanksgiving table.

Anything that keeps families from wanting to spend quality time together is the true enemy — not Black Friday — whether that be bickering at the table, incessant football watching, or scrolling on our smart phones for hours.

For some families, responsible Black Friday shopping could be a bonding experience. Yes, even spending the night in the Best Buy parking lot for a ridiculous deal on a flat screen TV could serve as some twisted family tradition. If Thanksgiving is a race to how fast people can excuse themselves from the “dinner table of conflict”, is it really any better than an enjoyable, early morning mother-daughter jaunt to Macy’s?

So, as I began by saying, there’s nothing inherently bad about Black Friday. It’s how we spend our time and money every day of the year that matters.  Family time can be a relaxing Thanksgiving for some, but for others an afternoon of football and beer commercials is not time well spent. To each their own.

Whether it’s indoors, outdoors, or at the mall, find ways to spend quality time with people that matter this holiday season. And let’s not blame the national retailers for driving a wedge between families just because they’re trying to stay afloat and compete in a tough economy.

The one exception is the hourly worker that has no choice, and must leave their family to keep their jobs during these extra business hours. The best thing we can do as shoppers for these kind-souls is treat them with respect, and be kind. For some, they may not even feel appreciated at home, so let’s make an effort to appreciate them while at work.

We ultimately choose how we spend our time and hard-earned dollars. It’s our responsibility — and ours alone — to be more intentional with both.