One holiday at a time

So I’m scrolling through the inbox, past the come-ons for skin tag removal and fortunes in Nigeria, when I come across this doozy:

“Michael, what do you want for Black Friday?”

What do I want for Black Friday?

How about that it doesn’t exist?

Once I was coerced into going out do my Christmas shopping on Black Friday. If I’m going to get up at 3 a.m. it will be for the following reasons only:

A. The house is on fire.

B. The dog has to pee.

C. I do, too.

As if getting up in the middle of the night wasn’t bad enough, then I had to go Christmas shopping. Sorry, in Mike World “have to” doesn’t pair up with “go Christmas shopping” until noon Dec. 24.

The day-before-Christmas panic has, for me anyway, a certain cheerful vibe. Everyone’s bustling about in (mostly) happy anticipation of the next day, and the air seems full of Christmas music instead of exhaust fumes and sewer gas.

I remember one Christmas Eve about 30 years ago when I was running around downtown Indianapolis, arms full of packages. A beautiful snow began to fall and I thought to myself, “This is exactly like being in an old Christmas movie.”

Black Friday, on the other hand, is exactly like being in an old war movie. People are battling for position, running flanking maneuvers, sending out scouts, trying to capture the high ground and taking no prisoners.

I also object to Black Friday as part of my blanket objection against rushing toward Christmas, which gets worse every year. The Christmas catalogs began arriving well before Halloween, and the decorations were going up in some stores in September.

Meanwhile, Thanksgiving – one of the truly great days of the year – gets short shrift, in my view. I realize it’s not as sexy as Christmas and it’s not that big of an economic driver for anyone except turkey farmers, but it’s a rich and beautiful American day and deserves to be treated as such, not as the day we fuel up for a day of full-contact shopping.

So that’s what I want for Black Friday: A turkey sandwich at my house. No crowds and a DVD of “King Kong vs. Godzilla.”

What else could anyone want? A little sanity, I suppose. But the way things have gotten, I think that would be too much to ask.

© 2012 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.

— Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at For information on speaking fees and availability, visit