Monday, November 24, 2014
This is not my family. But I think our family Thanksgiving Dinner in 1964 would have looked similar to this one. All adults seated at one table, dressed nicely for the day with men in ties. At our dinners, the children were seated at another table. Our family lived by the motto that "Children Should Be Scene and Not Heard". How sad.
After dinner, the women cleared the table and took care of the clean up. The men sat together talking. My family was not big on football. The Chicago Cubs were our sports staple and of course back then the world series was played at the beginning of September. Later the adults would gather at the table and play cards or Bunco. I remember how happy I was when I was about 12 and was allowed to play Bunco. I still love that game, though no one at my house will play with me now.
There was no shopping done on Thanksgiving. Stores were not even open...you may have found a little local grocery store open for just a few hours in the morning, but it would be difficult even in the small town I where I was raised.
I guess there was a lot of shopping done on the day after Thanksgiving, but I honestly don't remember it. My mother was a stay at home mother who did not drive. Really! We didn't even own a car! We walked every where or rode the bus. (Year later when I met Terry he thought I was crazy to enjoy walking. He actually would drive the car if we visited a neighbor down the street). Anyway, I'm sure we went Christmas shopping together. A ride on the bus to downtown. There were no malls. (Heck, we didn't get a McDonald's until I was in high school.) We ALWAYS stopped at Walgreen's drug store. The had a cafe area and I remember that my mother always bought a breaded pork cutlet child's dinner for me. OR we stopped at the fountain area in the Woolworth's Dime Store for a sandwich..a BLT club. Then we either rode the bus home or maybe we went to an afternoon matinee at the theatre. Back then you could see a movie for .25 and watch it over and over all day if you wanted to. When I got older, I saw all the Elvis and Beach Blanket movies there. I also remember seeing Exodus at that show.
So moving on, somewhere in history Black Friday became a frenzy. I admit to getting out into the mix when we were younger. The lure of the deal was too hard to resist when money was short. We were grateful for the sales to be able to stretch our dollars. In the past few years there has been nothing in the sales that we needed or wanted. Terry still liked to get up and be at Menard's at 6 AM and then go to breakfast.
Then, Black Friday became Thanksgiving Day Black Friday pre-sale. Walmart loads up on inferior products to offer a guarantee that you will get before Christmas as long as you are there to pay within the first hour of the sale. Other stores follow suit. Black Friday sales are no longer a secret put published a week prior with a map to the inner store where the items will be displayed. Oh, there is so much more to say about what Black Friday/Thanksgiving Day sales have developed into.
But how did it happen? Terry and I discussed this. There are plenty of reasons even if you eliminate the financial details from the discussion. Our theory is that families have become so spread out across the country that many are unable to visit relatives on the holiday. Many find it easier to eat away from home. (For me, that wouldn't be so bad. My kitchen is small and many holidays I am exiled to the kitchen while the family cuts it up in the living room. Then I want to enjoy their company so leave the mess in the kitchen until they leave.) Anyway, eating out leaves more time to shop. And don't you think that shopping together has become a form of entertainment? The thrill of the hunt.
So, when people complain that Thanksgiving is a day for family and should not include shopping, I think they don't understand the underlying reasons some attend the sales. After all, if no one showed up, the stores would close. Perhaps the sales serve a social purpose.
For me, I'll stay home and enjoy my family's company just as we have always done on Thanksgiving Eve. We'll find something to stream on TV and be cozy. Black Friday is our traditional day to decorate the house for Christmas...almost as much fun as Christmas Eve.
What do you think about Thanksgiving Day Sales and Black Friday shopping? What are your family traditions for those two days? I'd love to know what you think.