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When I was a child, I remember people getting ready to catch a good deal on Black Friday.  Stores would open as early as 6am, and it was time to get the lowest prices of the season.  It was nothing my mom ever got excited about, but she also wasn’t a big shopper.  Over the years, however, it seems like what started off as one day of great holiday deals has turned into an obsession that is ruining the spirit of Thanksgiving.  What’s up with that?

Last year, I was shocked to see multiple advertisements for stores that were opening up the evening of Thanksgiving Day.  And not even at midnight, but as early as 8pm. I thought to myself, “Is it that serious?” I just can’t imagine why people have to shop just hours after eating dinner with their family and friends. It seems like a bit much.

Don’t get me wrong; I love a good sale as much as the next person.  Really, I do.  But what I love even more is spending quality time with my family.  And the most disheartening thing about Black Friday is watching the news reports of crowds, aggressive behavior and even assaults, all in an effort to get a good deal.  Honestly, even a free television could not get me to deal with that mess (which is saying a lot because I love free stuff).

I think it’s easy to blame the retailers and question why they are even opening their doors so early.  But frankly, the retailers are not to blame.  You see, if we, the consumers, were unwilling to spend Thanksgiving Day shopping for deals, the retailers would have no choice but to close their doors.  The doors stay open because consumers everywhere have proven that they really do love a good deal that much.

I think we all have to ask ourselves what this need to “catch a deal” is doing to our precious family time. Between jobs, school and other commitments, spending quality time with our families is already a challenge.  When an entire day is dedicated to the notion of being thankful and spending time with the ones we love most, shouldn’t we allow ourselves a chance to truly enjoy that day? Doesn’t our family deserve that much?

I love to shop.  Truly, I do.  And I love a bargain too (I mean, who doesn’t?).  But I just think that Black Friday should stay where it belongs – on Friday, not on Thursday night.  That way, everyone gets to enjoy some time with the ones they love, and the deals are still waiting for them the next day. And don’t forget–there is always Cyber Monday.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Martine Foreman is the editor and co-founder of JustDiva, a lifestyle email publication for today’s Modern Black Woman. To follow her funny and candid take on balancing life as a wife, mom and entrepreneur, you can also check out her personal blog, CandidBelle.

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