Black Friday

It’s finally here. Not Thanksgiving, but Black Friday.

The build up has been intense. My email inbox has been at least half Black Friday promotions. Some even talk of Black Friday week, as though Thanksgiving doesn’t even exist.

I guess that we can bless four-day holiday weekends. If you don’t have to go to work, you can shop for Christmas presents–oh, and pick up something for yourself while you’re at it.

This is of course not a new phenomenon. Since the rise of retailers in the 19th Century, they’ve needed Christmas sales to boost the year’s income statement from red (a loss) to black (a profit).

Christkindlesmarkt begun in Nuremberg in 1545 has much more charm as a Christmas celebration and retail experience.

We’ll visit the one in Chicago which squeezes the Nuremberg experience into one plaza with people packed so tightly that you can’t find the end of the queue for mulled wine. But there are also interesting things from much of Europe on display.

Maybe we get the rush of Black Friday week, Cyber Monday (which was really Cyber Wednesday and Thursday this year), and minds filled with Christmas shopping behind us, so that we can pause a little each day to reflect on a greater purpose. Make that part of the daily discipline.

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