The other day, as I was planning Thanksgiving dinner, my mother called and asked what I was up to. When I responded: "Planning Thanksgiving dinner" she said, "Honey, you can't imagine how special it is for me that no matter where you are in the world, you always celebrate Thanksgiving".
I stopped to really think about this and question what this American holiday means to me. I was born and raised in Peru, and have lived in five different countries, including the U.S., but because my [American] mother always made sure we celebrated it, Thanksgiving dinner is a tradition I embrace year after year, no matter where I am, because it makes me feel at home.
The past few years have meant something different though because, in addition to the dinner I always host, we need to make sure everything is in place for our Black Friday sales at Claribel. I was thinking quite a bit about it this year, and pondering whether or not Black Friday is a good thing –albeit undeniably important– when I remembered the first time I truly understood what Black Friday bargains meant to others.
The memory I am referring to is from my first year as a banker in New York, sitting at my desk at 8:30 AM, lamenting the fact that I had to work on Thanksgiving Friday. All of a sudden, Dee, a very colourful assistant from one of the neighbouring teams, walked in with her arms full of packages. A few eyebrows shot up as she barely cleared the space separating our cubicles, but she was completely unbothered – no snotty or pinched faces could take the smile off of her face.
Ed, a wonderfully respected man, walked out from his office and with a lopsided grin asked: "what do you have there Dee?" -and that was enough to get her started. In her lively and expressive voice, she proceeded to tell him (and unavoidably us) about all the deals she'd secured. She said she had been waiting since 4 AM in front of a particular store and obtained the best bargains on presents for her entire family. She described the hundreds (maybe thousands) of people waiting with her, and how thrilled she was with her purchases.
I would love to say that I was the picture of understanding and poise, but to my entitled twenty-two-year-old self, it still seemed absolutely insane to stand in front of a store, at dawn, and rush in for a deal. This was a time when a great deal of shopping was still done in store and I had always wondered who could be crazy enough to flock to a shop in the cold, early hours of the morning. All of a sudden, without looking too far, I not only had someone who had done this-but was narrating it with joy. To be honest, I do not remember the precise conversation between Dee and Ed word for word, but I still see how alive she looked, and how happy it made her.
At the time I did not understand that Black Friday deals really make a difference to people who cannot afford certain regularly priced items. I also selfishly failed to grasp that for some, it is also a part of their Thanksgiving celebration and tradition.
That brings us to this week, over a decade later, and what Black Friday has become. I recall someone saying to me a few years back "Do you know they are doing Black Friday in the UK?" and thinking, "surely this is the beginning of the end" -but it wasn't. Black Friday has now become synonymous with incredible deals all around the world that you definitely want to get your hands on while you can.
While I am frustrated with material things driving humanity, I love giving presents and certainly like receiving them. So when it comes to Black Friday, if you find yourself having a love-hate relationsip with it, like I did, try to take a moment and think about what the sales may mean to someone else. I like to go back to that moment when Dee walked in – the energy, happiness, the joy of kicking off the Christmas season and enjoy it. This year we have made our Claribel Black Friday sale very simple. We discount everything by a percentage, so if there is something you love, for yourself or someone else, you can purchase it much cheaper for a week.
Mariana and I are thankful to be welcomed in your inboxes with this newsletter, and your homes with our products. Whether you celebrate it or not, we hope you have a lot to be thankful for and wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.