A vote for upholding traditions



As far back as I can remember, the fun of Christmas shopping began in earnest on the day after Thanksgiving. It was a family tradition for my mother and I to rise before dawn on that day (it was not called Black Friday when I was a kid). We would make our first stop by 7 a.m. and often hit as many as three Detroitarea malls by the end of the day.

But things changed over the years. Black Friday start times began creeping up earlier. I recall standing outside in the cold at 4 a.m. trying to stay warm while waiting for the mall to open. I also remember covering the crowds when the midnight sales started at the outlet mall in Birch Run On those occasions, I was covering the pre-dawn shoppers as part of my job as a retail reporter. Otherwise, I would have been at home in bed at that hour.

Having to work on Black Friday interfered with my traditional shopping outing with my mother but also meant leaving our family gathering earlier in order to get up early enough to make the rounds.

Fortunately, I left that job before Black Friday moved to Thursdays. I have never shopped on Black Thursday and don’t ever plan to. I wish more people felt the same. Thanksgiving is one of those times each year when families should be celebrating another year of blessings.

That goes double for me and my family this year because of a health scare that recently hospitalized my 81-year-old mother. There is no place on earth I would rather be on Thanksgiving Day than seated at her table thankful that she pulled through and that my entire family can join hands at the table in gratitude and hope that we will be blessed to do so for many more years to come.

That is our tradition. So, it saddens me to watch what Thanksgiving has become. I understand that retailers need to profit to survive but I seriously doubt that it would put them out of business to close for one day so their employees can enjoy Thanksgiving Day with their families.

I was heartened to learn that this year the Mall of America plans to be closed on Thanksgiving Day though some of its stores may open independently.

I am pleased to announce that Genesee Valley Center, according to its holiday hours calendar, will be closed on Thanksgiving Day this year with some store and restaurant exceptions That is a laudable decision considering that other area malls and stores are planning to be open by 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

Perhaps some families have started a new tradition to head out to the malls right after eating their Thanksgiving dinner. But I vote for the old tradition of a family centered Thanksgiving at home. Shopping changes the focus of the Thanksgiving tradition.

I dread to think what’s next. Will stores eventually start opening on Christmas Day too? rsanders@mihomepaper.com

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