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Amber Chandler: Thanksgiving is marked by a variety of traditions

So, here it is: I don’t see why Black Friday shopping is equated with horrible consumerism and the decimation of the American Family. I’m not opposed to having a day where no one works because they are home having a family dinner and appreciating how they are blessed. I am opposed to people trampling one another, no matter what the day.

However, this Black Friday debate seems so completely one-sided that I couldn’t help but wonder why everyone seems so up in arms about it that they miss the obvious: people want to select which businesses should be open and which shouldn’t based on their own version of traditional Thanksgiving activities.

I’ll start with the two most obvious examples because they are a part of my family tradition. We go out to lunch because there are only five of us, among them two children who eat ambrosia and pasta and a husband who doesn’t eat leftovers. Unless I want turkey until Christmas, it just makes more sense. We aren’t there alone, of course; in fact, there are three seatings to accommodate the many people. Hostess? Check. Waiters? Check. Cooks? Check. Bus boy? Check. After our lunch, we go to see one of the many movies that have been tempting us with “opening Thanksgiving Day” trailers for months. Ticket takers? Check. Concessions workers? Check.

And, let’s not forget the importance of football. Have you ever stopped for a second to wonder how many people are employed at a stadium? And those poor football players, away from their families on Thanksgiving. They make so much money, you argue. So, the wealthier you are the less your family matters? The hypocrisy should be obvious by now, but let me throw another element in to the conversation. Maybe I’m wrong and gender issues are a thing of the past, but lots of people I know talk about men on the couch and women cleaning the mountain of dishes.

Then, there is the bar. Beer isn’t pouring itself, and the home-from-college crowd doesn’t seem to mind gathering in an establishment with employees who are working on Thanksgiving until 4 a.m. This is the same 4 a.m. that is so reprehensible if I am buying a watch for my husband or looking for a discount electronic. We have restaurant workers, movie theaters, stadium workers and football players and barkeepers. I suppose some would insert a “consumerism” argument in there, but consumables and entertainment should not be exempted from the judgmental rants.

Now, let me tell you what I am going to do on Thanksgiving. I don’t think it makes me a bad person, and I certainly don’t think it makes me any different than those who are enjoying their traditions that also involve people working, just different people.

I am going to eat dinner at a restaurant, tip the wait staff ridiculously, see a kid’s movie with my family and then head out shopping with my friends around seven or eight.

I’m going to shop all night, buying presents for the family I have deserted, who are, incidentally, lying around the house, totally not missing me. At dawn I’ll stumble in to a diner, now able to quit shopping for the near month of consumerism left before Christmas. Let me know if Thanksgiving ever stops money from flowing, and I will invite you over for turkey.