by Barb Mazarakos
Remember when Black Friday was single day? Literally, it was the day after Thanksgiving when you could get some of the best “deals” of the holiday season. Stores would open early- some at the crack of 6am- and shoppers could fill their carts without completely emptying their wallets. Every year (at least in my younger years) there was the “it” toy. You know, the one that people would camp out all night in front of Toys R Us or Service Merchandise to get for the special little people in their lives. At least that’s how they justified the melees we would often see on the nightly news that Friday (the words “Cabbage Patch Kids” can still bring chills through the hearts of some parents of the 80’s.)
Over time however, Black Friday shopping hours have started earlier and earlier. First it was 5am, then midnight, 11pm, 9pm. And now? Some stores open at 2pm on Thanksgiving Day (maybe even earlier) and clerks are forced to choose between spending time with their family or hanging on to the job that helps pay their bills. Some stores have begun their sales on Wednesday, the day BEFORE Thanksgiving. Not to mention the “Black Friday in July” sales over the summer, and this year, a new one- “Black Friday”-type sales were being advertised at a few big locations the weekend before Halloween! With all this deal-finding, it’s no wonder we lose site of what Christmas is really supposed to be about. Lost under the sales ads and wrapping paper is the manger. You know- the whole reason we have Christmas at all.
On that Christmas morning all those years ago, we were already given the best gift we will ever receive. Maybe this year, instead of worrying about the material things you will give away to celebrate the birth of Jesus, you could think about participating in Giving Tuesday. This national movement began in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to the commercialism highlighted by Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. It is not a specific organization but rather a movement that lasts for the 24 hours beginning just after midnight on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving (this year taking place on December 3).
Those wishing to participate are encouraged to give of their time, money, or voice in advocating for nonprofit organizations and ways to help make someone’s life just a little bit better at a time of year when many are looking to make donations and those who are less fortunate tend to get overlooked amid the hustle of the holidays.
To find out more about the Giving Tuesday campaign (#GivingTuesday) you can check out their website at givingtuesday.org. Whether you choose that day or another during the holiday season, please take time to remember those who don’t have all that you do. You can reflect the true Reason for the Season by simply extending a little kindness to others.