Black Friday is here and the pundits are worried it will be not be a Black Friday but a Red Friday. Expectations for a rousing Christmas buying season have been greatly diminished. Major retailers are holding their breath that the predictions will not come true.
According to Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, the term Black Friday originated in 1869 when stock market operators tried to manipulate the stock market and caused a crash. The term has since taken on the meaning that it is the day businesses start to make a profit for the year.
The excitement of getting the newspaper on Thanksgiving and going through the ads was greater this year. There were great expectations that real bargains will be available. Plans were made as to what time to get to the store and which store will be first. Will it be a television or electronic games? Or will it be just a time to browse with expectations that as the season progresses the bargains will get better?
It is my patriotic duty to shop. I know times are tough, but how are we ever going to climb out of this financial morass if we don't shop? I bet you can hear my husband's response to my argument.
We can rearrange our priorities to have some money to go shopping. A friend recently told me how she took four names from an Angel Tree and how much she spent for each name. I was amazed at the amount. She went on to explain that she no longer gives gifts to her adult children, just the grandchildren. We are both fortunate to have grown children who are not in need of material things. The money she would have spent on her adult children now is spent on children in great need. What a grand idea.
The need for charity will be much greater this year. With the loss of jobs growing by the day, more families with children will find this season fraught with pain. Toys and treats will take a backseat to gas and food. I think we can look at our budget for the season and decide how we can include more charity.
Now is the time to look for bargains to donate to agencies that collect food and toys. Next time you look over the ads for food stores, think about the buy-one, get-one-free offers as a chance to get one for yourself and one for a food bank.
There are many organizations taking donations. Toys for Tots is a Christmas tradition. Marine Corps Reserve units throughout our country collect toys at their Reserve Centers. The U.S. Postal Service will have barrels for the unwrapped toys. The Salvation Army is another place that accepts donations. You will hear the familiar bell-ringing as you shop. This may be the year to put in some money each time you see a kettle.
Our churches and fraternal organizations have programs to provide for help at this time of year. I do not think there are any families or individuals who have not been affected by our current financial situation. Our holiday season may be a little leaner this year, but we have an opportunity to reflect the true meaning of the season by sharing and giving.
Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.