Today’s Thanksgiving, so it seems only natural that we talk about Christmas. That’s right, there’s no escaping the holiday creep.
This past Sunday, I received an email from HP advertising the start of their Black Friday sale, despite Black Friday not starting until tomorrow, and despite Sunday not, in fact, being Friday. On Monday, I got an email from Sears advertising their Cyber Monday sale, even though Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving. Of course, those are just online deals, so it’s not much of a big deal. No one is put out, and you can patronize them at your leisure.
Physical stores are also pushing these boundaries. Previously, many stores opened before dawn on Black Friday, but now many retailers now open the evening of Thanksgiving. Their limited inventory means people have to show up in person to get the promised deals, and their physical location means employees have to staff the stores, all on a national holiday with tremendous cultural significance. Kmart is leading the charge on inconvenience this year, opening at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving day, and not closing until 11 p.m. the next night in many locations. Sure, you can say that they can just get the employees who don’t have families to work those hours, but then who will take care of their cats?
This doesn’t even get into how stores are putting Christmas decorations and merchandise out earlier and earlier, generally in October these days.Even Hanukkah is getting in on the act. Most years, it falls around the same time as Christmas. This year, it started yesterday, the day before Thanksgiving. There is no respite from winter holidays encroaching on the fall.
A lot of people complain about this, and up until recently I was one of them. But now I’ve seen the benefits. Sure, it’s terrible right now. Long term, though, this will work out for the best.
Thanksgiving has long been a natural barrier to Christmas shenanigans. It worked out pretty well. People could celebrate the holidays in order, moving from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas without overlap. Many businesses were closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving, so workers with that extra day off could use it to get a head start on their Christmas shopping. Many people did, and stores responded by offering great deals. That’s where the term “Black Friday” arose, by police officers in Philadelphia who hated the increased traffic and considered it a dark day, much like we do now. It was a hell of a marketing spin to have that term come to mean it was a big shopping day, when businesses would go from red to black in their financial ledgers.
With Thanksgiving now no longer that barrier to Christmas, it could be like a dam bursting. Christmas can move to a year-long shopping event. This will have two things happen. First, we’ll learn that children’s wishes can come true. Think of all the kids who wished Christmas lasted the entire year. Okay, so we’d learn children’s wishes come true in a certain sense, but that kids need to be far more specific with their wishes.
Also, we’d be able to reclaim Thanksgiving, and the rest of our holidays as well. If every day is a Christmas shopping day, there’s nothing that would make Thanksgiving or the day after special as it relates to Christmas, so it could have its own day again.
More importantly, it would get rid of Black Friday, when people are at their absolute worst, bodies are trampled, and working in retail causes suicide numbers go up at the holidays (note to self: research wild claim before publishing this). That’s right, once Christmas goes year round, there’s no more Black Friday, which means there are no more Black Friday shoppers. And that’s something we would all be thankful for.