By time we’ve stuffed our gobbling gullets full of a Thanksgiving feast we should be plenty thankful. Having had a full month to develop our gratitude attitude, our general state of thankfulness should be at maximum levels. We’ve gathered with family and friends, had traditional eats and treats, and sat down to watch movies, football, and parades. How odd that many Americans follow such a delightful day by fighting one another. A day of gratitude ushers in an absolute free for all where the only rule is this: There are no rules. Soccer mom’s stand in line, waiting to eye gouge anyone that gets between them and their 50% off appliances. This dichotomy is not only abrupt, but is confusing. How can we be so thankful on Thursday at noon, and by midnight transform into greed-mongering monsters? Here’s 7 reasons to avoid the masses – and not enter the craziness that is Black Friday.

1. Online is Easier, and More Fun – Did you know many of these amazing and oh-so exclusive deals are also available online? You could sit in front of a fireplace in your PJ’s and get many of the same bargains without having to wonder is your hair is going to get pulled out by a middle-aged mother. You can save the same amount of money – and do it much, much quicker. And let’s not forget the most important part of online shopping – you get to sleep in. If you helped make the Thanksgiving feast, you would have definitely earned a sleep-in.

2. Family Trumps Anything On the Shelves – Maybe not Aunt Martha and her weird smell, but most of your family is probably awesome. They have your DNA, after all. In the midst of the maddening masses, it’s hard to truly connect (unless you count near death experiences as a form of bonding). So why not spend that day playing a board game, or going for a hike, or doing whatever it is your crazy family does together? You should have plenty of food from the Thanksgiving feast in the fridge – all you need is to lock the doors and wait for the fun to begin.

3. You’ll Only Find Boring Gifts – What kind of gifts are you likely to find on Black Friday? The same advertised stuff everyone else is getting. When it comes to gift-giving, coloring outside of the lines is definitely the best policy. If you want to truly surprise your loved ones, then you’re going to need to apply a little imagination, and getting in lines that resemble a cattle drive hardly fits the bill. Sure, you might find a new plasma high definition TV and save a hundred bucks or so, but why not look for something truly unique for a change?

4. It’s Hard on Your Body – I don’t know about you, but after I’ve stuffed myself with turkey, green beans, pecan pie, more pecan pie, and mashed potatoes, I’m not up for shopping all day long. Especially when many Black Friday sales start at midnight. Part of a feast is the lounging around after devouring the family favorites that mom just made for us. Even if you didn’t just have the biggest feast of the year, waiting through those lines and dealing with massive crowds is hard on your body. You could find some amazing deals in a fraction of the time by waiting until Saturday or even Cyber Monday. And, you’ll still be able to lay in front of the trusty TV for some good old fashioned football as well.

5. You Very Well Might Get Trampled – Seriously, you don’t want to mess with a commercially brainwashed, sleep neglected mother of three. If you happen to be standing between this year’s gift du jour, and one such maniacal mommy then your life is in danger. You might as well go stand between a mama moose and her baby than try to reason with the horrible horde of mommies and daddies that will stop at nothing to get what they want. Every year we see videos of crazed chaos that looks more like a riot than the most wonderful time of the year. That vibe is far better suited for mosh pits, not the toy aisle.

6. It Kills Your Gratitude Attitude – This may be the best reason of all. We humans are a fickle bunch. Our environment shapes the way we think and act. Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. Christmas is about celebrating the One Perfect Gift we’ve all received. Black Friday? It’s about 3 things. Me, Myself, and I. Saving ME money. Getting the perfect gift at an unbelievable price is nice, but at what cost? Not the financial one, of course – the cost to our festive spirit. The toll on our souls is far more than one might initially think. The cost is greater than we should be willing to pay.

7. You (And Your Family) Have Plenty – Gifts are good. Giving and receiving them is all part of the glorious Christmas tradition. But do we really need such an abundance every year? If we exercised a little moderation, then we wouldn’t need to save so much money on the Black Friday deals. We could find a few meaningful presents to give to close friends and family, and wouldn’t get sucked into the tornado of consumerism that sweeps through every Christmas season. Believe it or not, sometimes less really is more. But as long as we keep filling our stockings and trees with a pirate’s bounty full of treasures, we’ll never experience the simple joy of a Merry minimalist Christmas.

There’s nothing wrong with getting a good deal. And, it’s not a sin to go shopping on Black Friday. But, for these 7 reasons, and many more – it’s simply not worth the effort. So if you’re tempted to brave the crowds this Black Friday, hopefully you’ll choose wisely. And now you can even count the cost on the front end, rather than after a long and trying day. Happy Holidays!

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