Getting a black eye from Black Friday

The concept of Black Friday sales is creeping north across the border but it is just another example of commercialization of the holidays.

As I was away between Wednesday and Friday of last week, I had an opportunity to experience part of an American Thanksgiving tradition, Thanksgiving Thursday football.

It wasn’t as good as turkey with the trimmings, in my opinion, but it was enjoyable nonetheless and while my Thanksgiving dinner was enjoyed – as with many other Canadians – last October, there was another American tradition that I avoided; a tradition that has only grown to prominence recently, at least by my count.

Black Friday is supposed to be an American thing, as Canada has Boxing Day and, as mentioned, Canadian Thanksgiving was well over a month ago, but sure enough, many Canadian businesses were advertising Black Friday sales.

Black Friday is a kick off to the Christmas shopping season, people say, and news outlets reported about the swarms of people lining up and preparing for the madness.

People often complain about how commercialized holidays, like Christmas, are becoming and with Boxing Day and Black Friday it’s easy to see why.

Christmas is supposed to be about giving, but not an elbow to the head of the person beside you, as you follow the swarm into a store to buy supposedly marked down items.

It is about giving in the non-selfish sense and it is literally about the birth of Jesus Christ.

I’m willing to bet Mary didn’t foresee the birth of her child being used as a marketing ploy by Best Buy to sell TVs, iPhones and iPads.

She might be happy that the birth of her son would lead to giving but not by the fact that people would be trampled as part of that act of giving.

The holiday season is one of my favourite and it probably has a lot to do with the lights, the snow and the music playing in the stores.

It is also probably one of the most atmospheric of all holidays, when you also throw New Year’s Eve and Day into the mix and everything associated with that.

However, it is fast becoming something that commercialization and capitalism are tainting with their grubby hands and something that could lead to ruin.

Maybe Ebenezer Scrooge (pre-ghostly visits) was onto something.

– Karl Yu is editor of the Grand Forks Gazette