UNITED STATES—Well in a little under 2 weeks, the shopping season will kick off in full gear as Black Friday dawns upon us. I can recall about 10 years ago, actually 20 years ago, Black Friday as most Americans know, kicked off during the wee hours in the morning between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. Well, a lot has changed since then.

Black Friday, well I officially coined the term ‘Black Thursday’ has kicked off the shopping season on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, turkey day has been interrupted by retailers opening their stores at the peak timing where eating with the family takes place. For years, it has been a tradition in our family to host Thanksgiving dinner and then head to the retailers to get an early start on Christmas shopping. Well in the past few years, the idea of hosting Thanksgiving dinner has become more difficult. Why? Well, myself including many members of my family are always forced to work on Thanksgiving.

While so many Americans do indeed have the ‘thankful’ holiday off, there are many Americans who have to work Thanksgiving each year and rarely get the day off. I mean if you work at a supermarket, police station, hospital, newspaper, as a paramedic, a firefighter, or as casino workers you are forced to be at work on turkey day. The idea of having the ‘day off’ is something of the past for many of us. As a result, my family has worked around ways to prepare for Thanksgiving in advance, but questions still arise. Is Black Friday slowly killing Thanksgiving?

My honest answer is no. The stores are opening earlier, but it seems most stores are aware of the uproar they can receive about opening stores way too early. I think the earliest retailer to open their doors is JC Penny at 3 p.m. Is that early, yes, I think the retailer should push back opening time until at least 5 or 6 p.m. in my personal opinion.

Eating for most families starts around 3 p.m., so opening stores at that time frame forces people to decide: spend time with the family or get a good bargain. Yes, I’m an advocate of Black Friday because I love a good deal, especially when my budget is tight. However, at the same time, it’s important to me to spend time with family, who I rarely get to see during the year. I mean, yes, we can curb a few hours of shopping for the sanctity of showcasing our appreciation for family.

A big trend I have realized in the recent years as Black Friday has slowly manifested into Black Thursday is that the crowds are larger in the beginning, but greatly diminish as night dawns upon us. For most, those malls are not open on Thanksgiving Day, just the major retailers. So once those ‘doorbusters’ have cleared the shelves, many stores see the crowds dwindle. So if you’re actually hitting the stores on Black Friday, lines are not as massive as they once were in the past, because the die-hards have already hit the stores, gotten the deals, and everyone else is left with the crumbs.

I have been an advocate of seeing Black Friday return to Black Friday people. Why? There is something great about getting up at 2 or 3 in the morning and waiting in line with a bunch of strangers for deals. People fail to realize there is a level of comradery that those who have never indulged in the shopping frenzy, just don’t get it. If you’re someone who has consistently and I mean consistently participated in the shopping holiday, it’s a feeling that is hard to describe. Getting a good deal is great, but being in the midst of those crowds is a feeling that is just hard to describe with words people.