The retail frenzy known as Black Friday is now an integral part of many family Thanksgiving traditions. From looking at the ads days prior, to getting up in the middle of the night to spending money on things you “can’t live without”. All of this has become part of the norm. We understand you have to have those things that make your house feel like a home!
But how did Black Friday start?
This is a great question. I had to consult http://history.com for the answer to that. It wasn’t as cheery and uplifting or festive as I thought it would be.
The term “Black Friday” was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis. Specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869.
As the story goes, two notoriously ruthless Wall Street financiers, Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, worked together to buy up as much as they could of the nation’s gold, hoping to drive the price sky-high and sell it for astonishing profits.
On that Friday in September, the conspiracy finally unraveled, sending the stock market into free-fall and bankrupting everyone from Wall Street barons to farmers.
This isn’t what you have heard?
The most common story behind the post-Thanksgiving shopping-related Black Friday tradition links it to retailers. After an entire year of operating at a loss (“in the red”) stores would supposedly earn a profit (“went into the black”) on the day after Thanksgiving, because holiday shoppers blew so much money on discounted merchandise.
Though it’s true that retail companies used to record losses in red and profits in black when doing their accounting, this version of Black Friday’s origin is the officially sanctioned—but inaccurate—story behind the tradition.
Here is a Visual History of Black Friday: From Financial Crash to Today’s Shopping Mania
1924 – The first Macy’s Day Parade
Today the parade is held on Thanksgiving Day this wasn’t always the case. The very first Macy’s Parade on November 27, 1924 was advertised as a “Christmas Parade” with the arrival of Santa Claus signaling the official start of the holiday shopping season.
The original parade, promoted a full-page advertisements as a “marathon of mirth”, including live animals from the Central Park Zoo. In 1927, the live animals were replaced by giant balloon animals.
Today, Black Friday looks like this:
Not only do we have Black Friday but Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday now too.
Do you get up and go out on Black Friday? I’d love to hear what your family traditions are.
All my best,
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