I am writing this column a few weeks before it will appear in the paper. But if personal tradition holds-and I suspect it will-I will have spent yesterday at home rather than in the stores. It isn't that I'm against shopping or doing my part to support merchants. It's just my own small way of thumbing my nose at Black Friday and extending the spirit of Thanksgiving for a few more days.
I know that the "busiest shopping day of the year" has to go somewhere on the calendar. I just wish that it wasn't right next to the one day when we're all reminded to give thanks. The Canadians have the good sense to celebrate their Thanksgiving the 2nd Monday of each October. I think it would be wonderful to join them.
One of the odd developments I have seen over the course of my life is the development of the Black Friday mentality that turns the holiday season into something stressful and frantic. I say when it's not fun anymore, stop doing it. And approaching a department store as if I am storming the beach at Normandy is not fun in my book.
Something that my family has enjoyed the last few years is to spend a relaxing the day together making crafts, playing games, and eating leftovers. What a better way to demonstrate thankfulness than to spend leisurely, unstructured time together? You can't put a price tag on that.
Many churches last Sunday used Psalm 100 in their services, part of which reads: "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." If churches wished to acknowledge Black Friday sometime I would suggest a passage something along the lines of "Consider the lilies of the field"
Ian Eastman, M.A., is a community educator with Family Services of Warren County-a charitable agency that helps people solve problems and be happier through counseling, substance abuse services, and support groups. Learn more about this important work at www.fswc.org.