PAIGE LISTON | | Opinion Columnist

Thanksgiving should be a time to focus on what we are truly thankful for. It should be a time to eat delicious home-cooked meals and appreciate our loving families and friends.

It is a shame Thanksgiving is overshadowed by greedy free-for-all shoppers who swarm every mall because of Black Friday deals.

Each year, more major retail stores, such as Macy’s, Walmart and Target, open their doors to Black Friday bargain hunters on Thanksgiving Day.

It is crazy.

On Black Friday, people leave their comfortable homes just to deal with crowds of aggressive holiday shoppers.

It is even crazier that people would sacrifice spending time with their families on Thanksgiving in order to participate in the Black Friday festivities.

By opening their doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving, participating retail stores are sending a terrible message: Consumerism is more important than honoring the traditions of a beloved holiday.

Black Friday can bring out the worst in people. They become greedy and selfish over material objects, which is the exact opposite of the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Butler junior Kelsey Berggren said she had been run over in an aisle while shopping on Black Friday because the aisles were congested and no one had room to move.

It is a shame that the culture of holiday shopping puts people’s physical health at risk. Material objects are valued higher than they should be.

I think people should be more concerned with what they are thankful for instead of worrying about material goods found in stores.

This year the popular doorbuster deals associated with Black Friday will be available even earlier, which makes crowds more hectic and impatient.

Doorbuster deals are a sales technique used to get people in the door as early as possible, because the discount prices are only available for a limited period of time.

Fortunately, not all businesses are committing themselves to the Black Friday consumer craze.

Some department stores are making the decision to not open on Thanksgiving Day to show they are “family-friendly and honoring the holiday,” according to The New York Times.

These stores, such as Costco, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, give their employees the day off on Thanksgiving.

The retail stores that make the decision to stay closed during the holiday are setting a positive example for others to follow. Business and commercialism should not be more important than family values.

Although some people tend to get carried away with the horrors of holiday shopping, Black Friday can turn into a fun family affair.

Berggren said Black Friday is a bonding experience for the women in her family to participate in together.

Sophomore Jenny Applequist goes every year with her best friend’s family to buy presents for others. She said they keep the Thanksgiving spirit in mind when shopping during Black Friday.

“We all pile into a giant van at four in the morning to head to the department stores,” Applequist said. “I usually use the deals to buy good presents for my friends and family.”

I do think the sales and the hype of Black Friday take away from Thanksgiving, especially when stores open on Thanksgiving day.

But if people do not get aggressive about their purchases and do not focus on the selfish commercialistic side of the holidays, Black Friday can turn into an exciting and unique tradition for the family.

Cartoon by Audrey Meyer

Cartoon by Audrey Meyer