Why Black Friday?
When I was a little girl growing up in rural Virginia back in the 1970’s all retail stores were closed on Sunday. Restaurants and gas stations were open on Sunday but that was it. My research on the subject came up with the following information:
Sunday-closing laws, often called “blue laws,” prohibited certain activities such as alcohol and retail sales on Sunday. In America, these laws date back to the colonial period, starting with the first blue law in 1610 that required the citizens of Jamestown to keep the Sabbath day holy. But it was not until the early twentieth century that such statutes became common. The prohibition movement prompted an increase in legislation regulating public and private conduct, such as restricting the sale of cigarettes and forbidding amusements and all unnecessary work on Sunday. Church groups and some merchants’ associations supported these measures, arguing that society would benefit if citizens were required to take a day of rest. Throughout the years there would be revisions to these Blue Laws as a result of petitions made to the Supreme Court that would allow each city and county to decide whether or not to keep these laws. Finally, in 1988 all Blue Laws were abolished; I believe that was an accelerator to the shopping madness that plagues our world today. In just 24 years we have gone from no shopping on Sundays to stores opening at midnight (or earlier) to celebrate the beginning of the holiday shopping season also known as Black Friday.
According to Wikipedia, the term Black Friday was used primarily in the Philadelphia area as far back as 1961. In 1975 the use of the term broadened and now is a common known phenomenon all over the world. Black Friday is known as the day to start your holiday shopping and get the best deals on just the right gifts. Black Friday shopping is known for attracting aggressive crowds, with reports of physical assaults, shootings, and hoards of people trampling on other people in an attempt to get the best deal before supplies run out. Stores, it seems rely on this sort of shopping mania to boost their sales and lure shoppers into their stores with hopes of saving money and having it all.
So what is it about the day after Thanksgiving that people find it necessary to fight to the death in some cases over stuff that was sitting on the store shelf the day before? Personally, I do not have an answer for that only the speculation that we fall into the commercialized hype of it all and somehow buy into the notion that we have to have it and we have to have it NOW! Somehow I believe that this Black Friday hysteria is key in the emotional mixed up views we have on the holidays. For me the need for a good night’s sleep is far more important than shopping in the wee hours of the night.
In reading the book “Unplug the Christmas Machine” for my Bible Study group I have discovered that a lot of people feel let down, depressed and disappointed once the gifts are open and the holiday meal is consumed. We spend so much time focusing on shopping, perfecting the decorations, baking, and party planning that we forget to stop and focus on our families, friends and ourselves. The holidays should be about spending time with our family and friends in a relaxed loving environment. We should set realistic boundaries regarding gift giving including sticking to our budgets. We should pace ourselves by being selective in what activities we participate in while we create meaningful long lasting family traditions. These few simple adjustments to our panic induced shop till you drop all night fight fest at the Wal-Mart will more than likely bring your Christmas back into focus and leave you feeling refreshed, renewed and ready to start the new year.
With Black Friday behind us, I encourage you to search your own heart to determine what it is that you want out of the Christmas season. For me, my goal is to keep my heart focused on my faith and what I believe is the true meaning of Christmas. I will strive to spend more quality time with my family and friends focusing on our time together without the pressures of perfecting the material aspects of the season. Whatever your beliefs or traditions are I encourage you to celebrate the holidays with your heart rather than your wallet. Taken from one of my favorite stories about a grouchy green fella by the beloved author Dr. Seuss I leave you with this thought: “Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t
come from a store.”
Karla article is my relaxing moment each Monday, I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!
Also, please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.