The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper


Black Friday: An Indirect Way to Show Appreciation

By Staff Writer Hannah Chou

As Thanksgiving approaches, no one fails to remember Black Friday. Although some people say that Black Friday shopping goes against the true meaning of Thanksgiving, we should view Black Friday as a way to further show our appreciation for what we already have instead of regarding it as an over-commercialized and cynical day.

Black Friday marks the beginning of the Christmas season. The word “black” in the name refers to the once-common practice of writing a business’s profits in black ink. According to Forbes, stores are able to earn the most profit from Black Friday sales despite the outrageously discounted prices because of the purchasing frenzy customers possess during the winter season. Also, because the Friday after Thanksgiving is one of the only days of the year in which a large portion of the population are on break, customers would more likely have the leisure time to go shopping.

Before the US had Black Friday, Thanksgiving was the only holiday in November that Americans cherished. Family and friends would reunite, have a feast, and list out everything they feel grateful for. It was a holiday that allowed people to display their appreciation for what they were privileged to have, show their gratitude to those who helped them, and enjoy the comfort of being with familiar people.

However, the implementation of Black Friday caused a significant drop in people who honor the same traditional Thanksgiving values. According to CNN, stores such as Target and Walmart open at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, preventing employees from enjoying the traditional holiday feast with their families. Customers themselves empty the dinner tables and rush to retail stores to obtain the best deals of the year. This has led many people to criticize the over-commercialization of this particular holiday season. The tempting Black Friday deals convince customers to ignore key Thanksgiving customs, and as more people choose the thrill of shopping over the family-oriented Thanksgiving dinner, it becomes harder to maintain old Thanksgiving traditions. However, with the right mentality, it is still possible to honor Thanksgiving traditions and go Black Friday shopping.

Although being thankful is a practice that is strongly emphasized during Thanksgiving, it is something that should be practiced on a daily basis. In order for us to see whether we manage to uphold these values, we must find ways to put ourselves to the test, and Black Friday is an opportunity for us to see whether our devotion is genuine.  Having Black Friday immediately after Thanksgiving can help prove to ourselves that we are still able to be thankful for what we already have while shopping for other goods. Black Friday can help show that even though our desire for certain things can overwhelm us,  our appreciation for what we are fortunate to have can outweigh our need to quench materialistic thirsts.

It may seem evident that Black Friday is the cause of the diminishing importance of Thanksgiving, but it can also be viewed as a way to further prove a person’s understanding of traditional values. In the midst of the chaos of trying to obtain merchandise for the lowest prices of the year, if people are still able to feel satisfied and grateful for what they already have at home, then they would have passed the “test” Black Friday offers. Also, Black Friday allows people buy gifts for other people, especially the people they are thankful for. Since the Christmas season immediately follows Thanksgiving, people are able to purchase gifts for the people they cherish. Having Black Friday right after Thanksgiving allows people to use this opportunity to buy more valuable and meaningful gifts to show their gratitude.

With a mindset that Black Friday is not all about the sales, but rather about proving gratitude despite the temptations of the many materialistic needs consumers have, people are able to change their perspectives on Black Friday from a chaotic, cynical, and over-commercialized holiday into a Friday that not only tests how much we cherish the holiday itself, but also tests our execution of the values emphasized on Thanksgiving.

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