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As US citizens tuck into Thanksgiving Day dinner on Thursday, the conversation around the table should be interesting. Uncle Sam is still deeply divided after last year’s presidential election.
What will temporarily unite polarised Americans this coming weekend is their slavish devotion to consumerism.
Thanksgiving Day was sacrosanct, a non-denominational national holiday that gave thanks for the year’s harvest. Regrettably, the deeper meaning has been eclipsed by an undignified rush to a frantic shopping spree, with Americans queuing up overnight. The spree, which marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, begins with a dawn dash on Friday, and so is called Black Friday.
Many Americans take Black Friday off work, thus making it a weekend of idolatrous extravagance. Marketing companies have also contrived ‘Cyber Monday’ to add another shopping day to the Thanksgiving weekend and to encourage online shopping.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are two of the busiest shopping days in the US. In 2016, $55bn (€47bn) was spent during the four-day Black Friday weekend.
Many people were left wallowing in debt in January, having lost the run of themselves during Black Friday.
This narcissistic materialism offers nothing to our Christmas season other than huge debts, maxed-out credit cards, and unneeded goods.
The self-indulgent Black Friday shopping frenzy is alien to our core values of altruism, moderation, community and inclusion. The US can keep its Black Friday.
Let’s prepare for a traditional Irish Christmas, by sharing some of our time, our company, and our resources with the needy, the lonely, and the homeless.
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