I have refreshed this post and am putting it up again this year in advance of American Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It’s only been in the last few years or so that Canadians have been joining our American neighbours in experiencing Black Friday, but not on quite the same scale. It was a pleasant bit of culture shock to me many years ago when we took a trip to the United States for a hockey tournament during the American Thanksgiving Weekend.
Today, we are sending our best wishes to our American friends for a Happy Thanksgiving – next week, and we hope that we will be able to get together very soon!
Our shared border has just recently opened and we are excited about what the future may bring!
Many years ago my husband and I had four young children at home who played baseball, basketball, soccer and hockey. We kept our country children busy, but they were quite sheltered really – being always busy after school and living in a rural area – even though we were not that far from the big city.
When I think about it, they had never visited a large shopping mall! There was everything they needed at two local small strip-style malls and besides, – I had a phobia of losing one of them in a crowd. (At least one of them was a runner/escape artist).
Some of the kids were more interested in sports than the others, some just liked the social aspect of sports and some needed to be kept very busy more than the others. More sports was better for our country kids!
At one point all of our children had hockey tournaments on the same weekend. Our daughter had joined a representative/travel hockey team, and we were to attend her first out of province tournament in Pittsburgh. At the time, I was aware that it was American Thanksgiving weekend, but I had no inkling that there was such a thing as Black Friday shopping.
I had never even heard of Black Friday, and I presumed that most things would be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday. I travelled on the team bus with my daughter, leaving the boys and my husband at home.
We arrived at our hotel and checked in. I assumed we were there getting the girls ready for their big games. At some time in the evening many of the parents quietly disappeared. We had no idea where everyone was. The hotel seemed deserted, with a few of the girls wandering around visiting each other.
It seems that the group had exited the hotel and travelled in our bus to a big mall that opened at midnight. The parents returned sometime early in the morning with multiple televisions, electronics and who knows what else.
I thought that we had travelled all of this way to watch our daughters play international hockey. Hockey is fun, but Canadians are serious about their kids in hockey!
We went to the arena the next day only to play against Canadian teams from within an hour of our home town. These were teams that our girls played as part of their regular circuit.
Some of the parents were absent (I guess they were sleeping in), and the coach looked tired – but we heard that he had scored a deal on big TVs.
After our first loss, the team was then dropped at the mall to experience Black Friday. These young girls went streaming from the bus and off to the mall in groups while the parents scattered to shop.
I was floored, shocked, amazed. People were everywhere, I had no idea where my daughter was and just had so much anxiety. After a little while, my daughter always the tallest in a crowd, found me, took my hand and off we went to find the deals.
Sometimes when experiencing something unexpected I have to relax, take a deep breath and go with the flow. It’s an experience my daughter and I will always remember having together.
Today, even though Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in October, Black Friday is now an event in Canadian stores. I smile when I think of that hockey tournament. The girls lost every game and had a great time. I do hope that everyone who is out shopping next week has a wonderful time. Happy Thanksgiving and Black Friday!
This year I will be joining you Black Friday shopping – but online – I’m still trying to stay out of the malls to avoid COVID, but I am happy people are able to enjoy shopping again – Happy Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday and take care!)