For several years I have wanted a new tree skirt for the Christmas tree. The previous one was sewn from fabrics that no longer suited my style or my home. Marked down for clearance a week before Christmas, I found a 60″ round tablecloth at Target that had the right shades of red and green …
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We’ve made no secret of our distaste for the annual descent into madness known as Black Friday, and this year it’s even worse, with many of the big box retailers starting the money-grubbing on Thanksgiving morning. Now, we could write a long and cranky screed about how many kinds of wrong this is, but instead, we’re going to be positive here.
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In 2002, I sat down and posted some random thoughts on Christmas morning at my long-neglected humor site, Monkey Spit. About six months later, the company for which I worked suddenly went out of business, and the intervening decade was marked by bouts of unemployment and other difficulties. The years 2009-2011 in particular were very trying; the economy was down, our income was severely reduced, and it was not a good time. The past year has been a dramatic improvement, so this Christmas has been a welcome change. I recently had occasion to look back on what I had written, and found that I made some pretty good points.
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It’s Black Friday, 2012. I was asked yesterday why it’s called “Black Friday” with the suggestion that such an ominous-sounding name seemed incongruous with the commercial aspirations of the day. Back before it was known to the public, store owners and manufacturers used to use this term; for many of them, the day after Thanksgiving, being the unofficial beginning of the Christmas shopping season, marked the day their business would move “out of the red” (in other words, show a profit) for the year. The term was seized upon by the mega-big-box retailers like Walmart as a marketing gimmick, inverting its meaning to apply to the customers rather than the business owners.
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