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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

‘Tis the Season to Be Mad: America’s Obsession with Black Friday

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again—Thanksgiving—when families come together to stuff their faces and loosen their belt buckles.

According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a national holiday, particularly in North America, that revolves around expressing gratitude. For some, it’s an important time to praise God. It seems, however, that in today’s society, we have forgotten the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is meant to be a time of reflection—a time to be thankful for the things one has in life and the people who love them. It’s a time of unity, a time to teach the young and reckless valuable morals, and time to prepare one’s heart for the future.

According to AllAboutHistory.org, this simply means that by “giving thanks,” one must appreciate their surroundings and the preciousness of life; that because there are others who may be in a tougher circumstance, that they should give to the less fortunate. For when one gives, ideally, it will come back to them in bountiful blessings.

For those who never took a history class or slept through it in high school, the first Thanksgiving celebration dates all the way back to November 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast. The feast was held so the Pilgrims could thank the Native Americans for helping them survive the brutal winter in Massachusetts.

The Pilgrims, who came all the way from England, were not used to the climate in Plymouth. In fact, nearly half of the 102 passengers that left England in search of “The New World” died from diseases. If it weren’t for the Native Americans—who originally inhabited North America before Christopher “Barbaric” Columbus discovered it—showing the Pilgrims how to grow their own food, all the passengers on the Mayflower would have perished. That’s why they were celebrating: the Pilgrims were fortunate enough to survive thanks to the Native Americans. It showed that by helping—not killing—one another, both groups of people could work together as one.

Today, many Americans see Thanksgiving as a time to overeat until they can’t move, as the day to watch the most exciting, exhilarating, “one-of-a-kind” football game there is, and as a relaxing four-day-weekend. And, of course, how could I forget what is so closely associated with Thanksgiving: Black Friday, a tradition that almost 108 million Americans participate in yearly.

As defined by Dictionary.com, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and the official first day of the Christmas shopping season. On this day, if you’re not familiar, retailers offer specially reduced prices on products. Although this definition is true in some aspects, it forgets to add that Black Friday truly commences on Thanksgiving evening. If one takes a look at BlackFriday.com, the website clearly states that “Black Friday is on the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday 2017 will be on November 24.” However, you and I both know that most stores will start their Black Friday sales either on Thursday or even well before that.

I mean come on: when will families have time to share in fellowship if their thoughts are clouded by getting to the store as soon as possible so that they can be the first in line to buy the newest iPhone or the biggest flat screen TV?

Don’t even get me started on the madness that occurs on that day of sales. Americans, by now, know that when one talks about Black Friday, affordable deals and crazed people come to mind. According to Daily Wire, last Thanksgiving saw a 21-year-old shopper shot and killed outside of a Macy’s store in Atlantic City. Dozens of shell casings were scattered in the parking lot, too. Let’s not forget that another victim was shot dead at a Walmart in Reno, Nevada that same Thursday evening due to a dispute over a parking space. How can mankind can be so cruel in order to obtain material things—things that won’t join them in the afterlife?

Has the moral ground this nation stands on shattered? The fact that we would rather stand outside stores in the freezing cold than be in our warm homes with the comfort of family and friends is a wake-up call.

I challenge you to spend all of Thanksgiving day with your family and friends. Black Friday will still be there the next day. As the great Dr. Seuss once said, “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”