Black Thursday: Shop-till-you-drop is threatening Thanksgiving

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We hate to encourage overconsumption, but on Thursday, everybody should hang around after dinner long enough to pick at the leftovers or splurge on an extra slice of pie. In fact, kick back and watch a little football, maybe play a board game or take a walk. Have an extended conversation with members of the extended family.

It's time to reclaim our national holiday, and we can do it by sticking around the house.

Thanksgiving is endangered, in peril of being lost to the aggressive encroachment of Black Friday, that other American holiday, the one dedicated to the national pastime of shopping.

We've got nothing against shopping. The buying that goes on between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be the difference between profit and loss for many retailers, their suppliers and employees. But observing Black Friday traditionally meant getting an early start on the day, with doorbuster bargains at 6 a.m. Then retailers began dialing back their openings, first to 4 a.m., then 3 a.m.,then midnight.

This year, major chain stores are crossing the line. When Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, announced plans to open at 8 p.m. Thursday, other retailers quickly lined up to open early. Locally, Kmart stores will be open 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving; in some cities, they'll reopen at 7 p.m.

If business is lucrative -- and already a few people are lining up -- watch for more of that next Thanksgiving. Maybe stores won't close at all.

The tradition of a family gathering, one dedicated to reflecting and sharing, will be lost -- maybe not for every family, but certainly for those whose livelihood comes from retail work.

So, take a break, folks. Stay home, relax and then get a fresh start on the gift list Friday morning. A full-time Thanksgiving should not just be the stuff of a Norman Rockwell painting.



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