Thanksgiving in America is the time of big family gatherings, very bad traffic, skyrocketing hotel charges, lots and lots of food with leftovers that will last until Christmas, long lines and overnight camping in front of stores, and merchants who are making a killing, because the days after Thanksgiving are kicking off the most lucrative time of the whole year.
It all starts out with “Blackout Wednesday” the day before Thanksgiving. Hardly anybody in the corporate world has to work on Thursday and Friday, so friends and family get together and hit the bars on Wednesday night. Of course some people always drink like there’s no tomorrow with guaranteed memory loss afterwards. That’s why it’s called “Blackout Wednesday”. Got it?
On Thanksgiving Day there’s usually a parade going on as well as a football game. As much as turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie is tradition for Thanksgiving Dinner, football is tradition for during the day. Familys like to gather around the TV and watch the game together, because they usually live apart all year long. Thanksgiving is the biggest family holiday in America. Bigger than Christmas.
For me, it’s always a nice surprise to get some unexpected days off, since I normally don’t even think of Thanksgiving, because we never celebrated this day to that extend in Germany. There is some kind of Thanksgiving, but it’s not a big holiday like in America. If you’re new to the US and already made some American friends, you might even get invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. That happened to us one year and it’s a very nice gesture from an American family to invite ‘strangers’ over to a very family focused occasion.
After the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, some people who really love to shop for deals head over to the nearest stores to stand in line for some great doorbusters like flat screen TVs and other items for very little money. Black Friday follows Thanksgiving and is famous for extremely low prices on a few items to lure people into the stores. Deals good enough to make people camp out in front of the store in the cold for hours. Stores used to open their doors at normal hours until it went crazy and they started to open at midnight. Today, a few stores even open up in the evening of Thanksgiving Day, which totally destroys the sense of family and togetherness, because everybody just wants to leave the dinner table in order to score some great deals in the mall. Toys R Us for example opens its door again on Thanksgiving Day at 5pm, basically destroying any chance for a family dinner, if people want to get their doorbusters.
I got into my car last year shortly before midnight on Thanksgiving Day to drive to the next Target, because I wanted to see it with my own eyes, if really that many people line up in front of the store. It exceeded my wildest expectations and the line even wrapped around the building. I’ve never seen so many people in front of a Target at night. Once the stores open and the line outside clears up, you’ll see other lines build up in front of the cash registers. So you can easily spend an hour in line just to pay for your stuff. You better got a great deal, otherwise it’s not worth all the time that you wasted for it. That is the notorious Black Friday.
People who protest against consumerism in America declared the Friday after Thanksgiving to “Buy Nothing Day“.
But Black Friday is not the end of the shopping craze. The following Monday is “Cyber Monday”. That means you’ll be able to land incredible savings in the online shopping world. I like that a lot better and you can shop from the comfort of your home. You might not get any of the deals, because stores sell out fast, but if you have a game plan of what you’re after, chances are a lot better to get what you want.