Theology & Culture
A couple of recent stories from the Huffington Post highlight what has been labeled the “Black Friday Creep.” This is the trend of retail stores opening earlier and earlier for the Black Friday shopping rush to the point of now opening early Thanksgiving Day. Stores like J.C. Penney, Toys R Us, Target, Kmart, Wal-Mart, and several others will be opening at 6p.m. Thanksgiving Day, and some as early as 5p.m.
While many people are upset by this growing trend, due to it resulting in employees having less time to spend with their families during the holiday, the retailers insist that they are responding to customer wants. Despite all the anger many are exhibiting, it is a guarantee that those stores that are opening early on Thanksgiving will be packed full of shoppers trying to get deals on all the numerous items that will be marked down for Black Friday. Black Friday and all the hoopla that surrounds it is a testament to the incessant drive toward consumerism in our society.
These stories show that buying what we want is quickly trumping spending time with family; with stores opening as early as 5p.m. on Thanksgiving Day some people will have no sooner sat at the family table and listed things they are thankful for before rushing out to buy more things that they want rather than need. People will rack up credit card debt, they will fight other shoppers, and they will wait in lines for hours all to get the latest and greatest gadget or gizmo, all to satisfy temporal desires.
I am not saying that going out and buying nice things is wrong, but when it takes the place of family it becomes an issue. When a time of year that is meant for reflecting on all the things for which we are thankful is undermined by a push for materialistic consumption people’s focus is turned inward, and selfishness prevails while humility and gratefulness are sidelined. Ultimately we must be careful to steward our time and money responsibly, to not allow our material lusts and desires to drive us, and to not lose sight of the things that are truly valuable, namely our families, friends, and above all Christ.