Black Friday Overtaking Thanksgiving


Lafayette CVS’s shelves are already stocked with Christmas decor.

Lexie Reinecke, Staff Writer

The holiday synonymous with warm pie and family time is on the fast track to commercialization. That’s right, Turkey Day is doomed to join other previously meaningful holidays like Christmas, Easter, and Valentines Day.

In 1691, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the colonists and Native Americans to commemorate the colony’s first successful harvest. The feast lasted for three days. It became an official federal holiday during the Civil War in 1863. In recent times, the holiday has included events like local “turkey trot” charity runs, televised parades, radio talk shows, and concerts, although the sit down meal itself has remained at its core.

Unfortunately, the day, usually reserved for collaborative cooking, decorative table-setting and quality time with loved ones, is now being interrupted by Black Friday.

Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving, and is a day when retailers mark down merchandise. The day has been unofficially hailed, “the start of the Christmas shopping season.”

While it isn’t known which pumpkin-pie-hating capitalist founded this so called “holiday,” it’s evident that our consumer-driven country has wholeheartedly adopted it. Thousands of shoppers take advantage of the low prices every year, and according to Statistic Brain, about 57 billion American dollars were spent during Black Friday last year.

Black Friday is now growing beyond a single day. Stores used to  open their doors at 12am, officially a new day, separate from Thanksgiving. But over the course of the past few years, retailers have pushed their openings to 9pm, then 8pm, then 7pm on the preceding Thursday.

Last year, Macy’s, the store which started as a grain distributor and has sponsored the famous Thanksgiving parade since 1924, had employees report to work before 8pm on the Thanksgiving holiday. One employee, interviewed in 2013 for Chicago’s Daily Herald, said, “We have massacred Thanksgiving. It is now the shopping day.”

Even worse, this year, department store Kmart has announced it will open at 6am on Thanksgiving morning, bright and early, before the home-cooking and family bonding can even begin.

In a November 3 press release, Sears Holdings Corporation, the retail giant who owns Sears, Kmart, and Kenmore, stated that Kmart will open on Thanksgiving. The company went as far as to call Black Friday, a “tradition.”

Released Monday, the statement reads, “Kmart, continuing a 23-year tradition as a destination for early-bird shopping and last-minute entertaining needs on Thanksgiving, will open for 42 hours straight, from 6am on Thanksgiving to midnight on Black Friday.”

So this year, rather than peeling potatoes and mixing stuffing, many Americans will be setting out, shopping lists in hand, to line up for price-reductions on the latest Barbie dolls and flat screen TV’s.

The hunt for the perfect gift to give for Christmas is a worthy cause, especially when time and thought go into a present for a loved one. I’m not condemning gift shoppers, in fact, I’m encouraging them. But for the sake of American tradition, let Thanksgiving be Thanksgiving. After all, if you’re into sleeping outside of department stores for hours, can’t you do it after the pumpkin pie?