If there ever was a first day of “Consumermas,” which is the celebration of consumption masked as giving, it would be Black Friday. Here’s how my family and I celebrated this year, as we have every year since marriage.
Black Friday Eve (aka Thanksgiving)
Noon–9 pm. We purposely engord ourselves on food all day, paying no mind to those “How to eat a lean Thanksgiving dinner” articles because it takes a lot more than a single day of moderation to watch your weight and stay healthy. Plus, you can’t give thanks with salad and lentils alone. So, with exception to the occasional McDonald’s run or high-fructose corn syrup water, we try to eat foods that spoil year round, so we can indulge on designated days like Black Friday Eve, sometimes called Thanksgiving.
9pm–bedtime. We relax, socialize with family, and fight over who should be quarterbacking (or in the case of me and John Prince, why Mozart is greater than Bach). We listen to good music, shun advertising circles and online window shopping, and try as best we can to put into context how awesome our lives are, and thereby how grateful we should be to this singular, loving, immortal man who watches over us and provided all these raw materials in the first place so we could do all the cool things we do in life.
We (usually) retire for the night very satisfied. Because of it, much like Christmas Eve, Black Friday Eve is one of my favorite days of the year.
Black Friday (the big day)
8–8:30 am. We awake as soon as our variable alarm clocks (aka the kids) do. But instead of clothing ourselves, we usually stay in bed for a while. The kids climb in and poke and prode with tiny elbows and knees—one of family life’s finer pleasures.
8:30–9:30 am. While laying in bed, we produce two glowing objects that connect us with the best marketplace in the world. In fewer than 45 minutes, most of our holiday shopping for our immediate and extended family is complete. Ordered, processed, and being placed in brown paper packages tied up with tracking numbers for home delivery. For good measure, we also buy from a few more online stores.
9:30 am. Eat a light breakfast as cars with fatigued passengers who were out all night pull into neighborhood driveways.
10 am. Bathe and dress ourselves.
11 am. Leave the house and venture to Target for what online stores didn’t have: specialized dolls for the girls. We also buy wrapping paper and poinsettias while there.
Noon. Eat lunch at one of my favorite fast casual restaurants: Braza Express, a mini Brazilian steakhouse.
1 pm. Buy Christmas tree and trimmings. (ProTip: After buying trees at inflated prices from individual stands for the first seven years of marriage, I discovered last year that Smiths/Kroger sells authentic 7–8 foot Oregon furs at half the price. Winning!)
2 pm–bedtime. Return home, decorate the tree (which is another story), eat leftovers, listen to festive accordion, Brazilian, and classical music (was still too early for Christmas tunes this year), read books, play games (all sorts), and otherwise rest from our labors.
Finish. Like Ice Cube used to say, “Today was a good day.”
Epilogue: Like anyone else, I recognize the thrill of the deal. But I have a hard time fathoming the self-induced anxiety that many invite upon themselves on Black Friday, especially since many of the same or similar deals exist online without the hassle or angry mobs. There really is a smarter way to enjoy Thanksgiving weekend.