Although we’re still a couple weeks away from Thanksgiving, “that holiday feeling” is slowing but surely creeping in. Black Friday sales are already in the news. Christmas commercials have started popping up on TV. And Starbucks has rolled out their seasonal red cups. (If THAT isn’t a sign of the season nowadays, I don’t know what is!) I used to surge into the end-of-the-year holidays like a steamroller on red and green steroids, but my tsunami of cheer has lost much of its will, having been eroded away by time and commitments and life in general. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t look forward to a few holiday indulgences, especially when it comes to one of the biggest joys in life: food.
If you’re reading this then either you’ve already been out for Black Friday and have had a requisite nap, or you’ve done the right thing and slept in/have been enjoying some lazy time on the day after a major holiday. Or, at least, that’s just my opinion. Black Friday is something of a perpetual mystery to me. It was never something my family participated in (if anything, we usually spent the day after Thanksgiving in a movie theater), and it’s not something I recall participating in as an adult. Yet, I understand why it happens, or rather, why retailers want it to happen…I guess. But what really struck me about the notion this year was how Black Friday wasn’t just relegated to the Friday after Thanksgiving. Somehow, Black Friday has been going on since the beginning of the month.
There’s actually some pretty interesting history behind not just Black Friday but also the retail season between Thanksgiving and Christmas (as well as Thanksgiving generally). But don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you to tears with history and stuff. Suffice to say, the term “Black Friday” was reportedly first used in Philadelphia in the 1960s. The cops apparently coined the phrase to describe the shopping madness and associated traffic nightmares that occurred in the city on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Despite this early occurrence of the phrase, the term didn’t make it into pop culture until the 1980s. And in a mere twenty or so years, we’ve somehow gone from Black Friday being a semi-normal day of special shopping deals to a day (and then some) of sales-driven mayhem and frenzy.