Getting a Jump-Start on Black Friday

Each year, I think the flurry of pre-dawn shopping madness that is the legendary Black Friday can't get any worse. But somehow, it always does.

While there's no denying that steals and deals are to be had by one and all, as I see it, the very premise of Black Friday precariously balances between being a festive, family tradition and a maddening rat race that's become an obsessive, American sport. That's all good and well since Thanksgiving Day is reserved for food and family (and maybe a little football). At least it used to be.

However, this year, stores like Kmart, Target, and Best Buy will be opening their doors Thanksgiving Day, according to Yahoo! Finance. And while a dirt-cheap cashmere sweater or half-priced, flat screen TV is enough to make any shopper's day, these stores that are supposedly "just giving customers what they want" by being open are taking the emphasis away from family time and togetherness and instead catering towards our ever growing need to have more, to do more. I have to ask: Why isn't Black Friday enough? Are we really so desperate for a distraction from the "slow life" that we must go-go-go, even on a day we specifically reserve for feasting in the company of family and friends?

Sure, there's only so much togetherness you can stand. I totally get that. So maybe you treasure the opportunity to slip out of the house and clear your head. (If you ask me, there's no better place to regain your sanity than the Macy's shoe department, which will be open this year, according to USA Today.) But if turkey, cranberry sauce, and marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole aren't enough to keep you seated at the table, engaging with loved ones and sharing favorite memories, then I don't know what will. This year, let's all make an effort to put the emphasis back on the people, rather than the things, that you're thankful for. After all, memories of a holiday spent together are sure to outlast any $15 spa gift set.

Bored on Thanksgiving Day? Use our Fun Finder tool to find the perfect game or activity the whole family can enjoy. Or, get everyone involved in making festive leaf chips to decorate the table. Just watch the simple how-to video below.

Image: Crowded mall via Shutterstock

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