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Black Friday

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No, not the financial crisis of 1869*, but what is considered by many to be

Boy beside store window display of Christmas ornaments
Boy beside store window display of Christmas ornaments

the biggest shopping day of the holiday season! The day after Thanksgiving, often referred to as “Black Friday,” is a day that many retailers kick off their holiday sale season. One myth is that this day is when retailers begin to make a profit. For some it has become a family tradition to hit the malls on that day.

Near as I can determine, the use of Black Friday to represent the beginning of the holiday shopping season began sometime in the 1960’s or 1970’s in Philadelphia and had to do with the amount of traffic on the streets from vehicles and people.

Is this really the busiest shopping day of the holiday season? Maybe, maybe not. A post on the Snopes website shows that this day is typically in the top 10, but not in the #1 spot. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) media guide for 2006 does show that for 2005 this day did hit the #1 spot (see pg. 6).

When I started doing some research for this post, I was amazed on the number of websites dedicated to the Black Friday shopping phenomenon. There are sites that track the deals being offered by stores, like Black Friday 2009 which provides daily updates for consumers on what retailers will be offering or sites like where you can look at the deals available by retailer or by category.

Retailers can find information at the Holiday Headquarters from the National Retail Federation. The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) provides a media guide with information on what’s hot, retail forecasts, and some holiday fun facts.

I won’t be joining the fray on November 27th. I tend to start avoiding most shopping centers at this time and don’t go back until mid to late January. Does that mean my holiday shopping will be all done by then? Absolutely not! I’ll be joining the Cyber Monday crowd.

For more tips and information, check out GovGab Black Friday post.

Happy Holidays & Happy Shopping to all!

(*Nineteenth Century in Print: The Making of America in Books and Periodicals collection is part of a distributed digital collection collaboration between Cornell University Library and the University of Michigan Library and the Library of Congress.)

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