The holidays: are you thankful for family or discounts?


I am always sad to see stories about Black Friday. Most media reports highlight the fights and trampling incidents at malls. This year's video highlight showcased a woman using a stun gun on another woman during a fight. As bothering as the fights have been, I have noticed  a different trend that is also disturbing.

Each year, stores are pushing back their opening hours to take advantage of consumers and our desire for discounts. Now many stores are opening at 8 PM on Thanksgiving night. I've read stories about employees missing out on Thanksgiving dinner so that they can get to work. Families are changing or canceling their dinner plans just so they can get to the mall in time. In short, families are beginning to make shopping the new Thanksgiving tradition instead of family time.

Now I would be lying if I said I have never taken advantage of a Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal. I do my best however to remember the essence of the holiday seasons. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Thanksgiving or any other holiday, the general essence of the holiday season is supposed to be spending time with family and looking at ways to give back to your community, however you define it. Christmas for many has turned into a self-centered event where people are more concerned with what they are receiving as opposed to what they are giving. Thanksgiving is turning into a day to give thanks for early shopping opportunities and discounts instead of being thankful for your life and the lives around you.

My hope is that this holiday season, we will take the opportunity to express gratitude for those in our lives past and present. I hope we will look for more opportunities to give instead of receive. I hope that we will be grateful for each day breathing and use the time off from work or school to remember what's important. Discounts are great, but not at the expense of discounting our time with those who matter most.