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Happy Black Friday Eve

Thanksgiving is not a sexy holiday. Any holiday when you stuff your face, waddle away from the table and loosen your pants before flopping onto the couch can’t be. Thanksgiving doesn’t have twinkling lights and over-the-top decorations, although I have noticed an increased number of inflatable turkeys on the lawns in our neighborhood. Thanksgiving has become a blip on the calendar. Christmas décor begins gracing store shelves in early October. Christmas themed commercials begin airing before we’ve even finished off the last of the leftover Halloween candy. The annual auditory assault of incessant Christmas music now begins before Thanksgiving.It’s no surprise that with the Christmas marketing blitz that begins earlier every year, the meaning of Thanksgiving is getting lost in the glitzy, tinsel covered shuffle. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It doesn’t require gifts or cards. You don’t need anything special to celebrate this holiday. Anyone can do it. All you have to do is spend some time, either before the turkey or after, reflecting on the good things in your life. It’s a day to come together with people you love (and maybe some people you can tolerate for a few hours once a year) to share a meal of traditional comfort foods. Unfortunately, because advertisers can’t sell gratitude, the meaning of Thanksgiving is being overlooked.

I work with pre-teens and teens and I reminded them that we would not be meeting this Thursday or Friday. To my great surprise they asked me why we wouldn’t be meeting on those days. This sparked a conversation that made my toes curl.

“We have off because Thursday is a holiday. What holiday is it?” I asked trying to jog their memories.

“I know,” said an eager young man, “it’s Black Friday.”

Unable to believe what I had heard, I repeated his statement, “Black Friday is this Thursday,” adding emphasis to the word Thursday hoping that would be enough to make him realize his mistake.

The young man’s eyes flashed with the recognition of his error and he said, “Oh, that’s right. Black Friday is this Friday, not Thursday. Duh!”

The other young man in the group then asked, “Why do we have off on Thursday then?”

Before I could intervene, the first young man answered, “We have off Thursday to get ready so we can go to the stores at midnight.” He then looked at me and very sweetly asked, “Do you celebrate Black Friday, Miss?”

I was processing the idea that these young men think that Black Friday is a holiday and before I could collect my thoughts to answer his question, the other young man in the group spoke up, “She doesn’t celebrate Black Friday! Remember? She’s Jewish.”

I felt like I had entered the Twilight Zone or maybe I was being Punk’d. Not one of the kids had said a word about Thanksgiving. They actually believed that Black Friday is the holiday. We have two days off to conserve our energy, prepare our lists and map out our shopping strategies. Apparently all the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes we eat on Thanksgiving Thursday is just carbo-loading for the upcoming shopping marathon on the real holiday, Black Friday. To them, Thanksgiving is just Black Friday Eve. I was about to explain their misunderstanding when someone else in the group spoke up. “Miss, what happens when Black Friday isn’t on a Friday? Do they call it something else?”

I looked around for a video camera. Were they kidding me? They had to be. How can a holiday as important as Thanksgiving be completely lost on the younger generation? Pilgrims? Native Americans? A harvest feast? Doesn’t that ring any bells?

I felt it was my patriotic duty to explain the history and meaning of Thanksgiving to these young Americans. With the hype and constant commercials emphasizing Black Friday sales, it is no wonder they think that is the holiday we are celebrating.

About Paprika Furstenburg

I was born with an overly developed sense of humor and poor coordination. The combination of these two character traits has taught me humility and given me the perspective to find the funny in everyday experiences.

30 responses »

  1. “…advertisers can’t sell gratitude …” Now, that caught my eye. And this topic is funny, but also really sad. Remember when, as kids, we made turkeys in the shape of our hands out of construction paper, and white bibs and black buckles for our shoes?
    I don’t think they even teach the story in schools any longer. Kudos to passing it on.

    • I’m sure they are still teaching about Thanksgiving in school, but I think it is being drowned out by the bombardment of commercials for Black Friday. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I hope you’ll be back again soon.

  2. I found you when you read my post. I adore your name. It reminds me of Whoppie Goldberg. We are twin souls. I, too, have an overdeveloped sense of humor and poor coordination. I seriously don’t know which is worse. Now for your post: I am continually appalled and nauseated at our placing materialism and monetary greed above all else. It results in more than the rampant commercialism of holidays and kids not knowing what Thanksgiving is. It means super pacs that buy politicians, investment houses that exist to accumulate their own wealth, laws that continue to degrade the middle class. Aside from that, everything is really swell. And you have a new fan.

    • Welcome! Thanks for stopping in and taking the time to comment. To answer your question about which of our shared afflictions is worse; I’m glad that if I’m going to be poorly coordinated, I at least have a sense of humor to appreciate the ridiculousness I often find myself in because of it.

      You are so right about the misplaced priorities in this country. What was frightening to me was how it has worked its way down to the next generation at such a young age.

  3. So that’s why so many of the kids asked if I celebrated Black Friday. I thought they were pulling my leg. Ah yes, Black Friday the lesser known holidays. Not anymore ….

  4. Wow, I had no idea Thanksgiving was losing popularity. I get angry when I see stores putting out their Christmas sale stuff earlier each year. It’s so sad. I’ve been trying to convince my family for awhile to stop giving gifts (except for the kids) since it causes so much stress. Most of just want to sit around and talk anyway. By the way, I love your use of “am I being Punk’d?” I say that all the time.

    • I think Thanksgiving is losing popularity among the younger generation. Boy, does that make me sound old! There is so much constant media attention drawing them away from the real meaning of the holiday. There needs to be more of a balance. Almost wish I was being Punk’d. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Pingback: History? Yawn. « Tripping over Pebbles in the dark

  6. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. I’m glad they had you to explain Thanksgiving to them

    • I tried to put a funny spin on the situation, but I was saddened by their answers. I could not let the opportunity to explain Thanksgiving to them pass by without doing anything. In some small way, I feel like I’m doing my part to prevent Thanksgiving from becoming extinct.

  7. That is sad. It’s the same over here. Don’t even get me started on how ‘Christmas’ turned into ‘the holidays’ Excuse me? The holidays? That’s just wrong on so many levels to a Christian like me.

    Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and that you won’t have to wear your fat lady pants for too long after it.

    • I’m sorry to hear that political correctness and commercialization is a global problem. Thanks for the Thanksgiving wishes, Lesley. Now it’s back to the gym or even my fat lady pants won’t be big enough.

  8. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO BIG SUPRISE THERE! Hope yours was fab..mine was…football, family, feast…it deosn’t get better thab that! oxoxo

  9. You were not being punked. You were being given enough material to come up with a comedy when this education thing gets old.

  10. Thanksgiving is also one of my favorite Holidays but we have it a month earlier – we do not have a Black Friday. However, I notice it a huge event in the states and it is sad that overshadows such a perfect holiday.

  11. So sad that our society even found a way to commercialize Thanksgiving—through Black Thursday.

  12. A sad commentary on the state of affairs in the youth of today…..and what they are missing in their value system!

  13. …and there you have an encapsulation of all that is wrong in America and why we are in trouble. Is it the schools that are failing these kids…or is it the parents? But as always, your humored approach to this sad commentary was uplifting.

    Now, to the table to eat. Just one question: Do I get the Rabbi or the Priest to bless this meal?
    From Arizona with love…

  14. Only from a child’s perspective can we see the sad truth so clearly. The importance of capitalism usually outweighs the importance of tradition. But at least we have a good meal together!

  15. Media hype is killing us. Not sure there’s any hope to save Thanksgiving. Nice post.

  16. OMG……This is So sad. Wake up America!!

  17. I am not surprised. Black Friday is starting earlier this year and getting more press. There are stores that are starting the big sales on Thursday. I guess their families don’t do big dinners or maybe they work in retail.

    • I feel bad for the employees who have to work those ridiculous hours. You are right about Black Friday starting earlier this year. Pretty soon the kids will be right. We’ll be “celebrating” Black Friday on Thursday.

  18. A funny blog but alas, a sad commentary on the times.


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