In 2006 I spent one of my most memorable Thanksgivings with my parents grandparents in small town Virginia. Having just purchased a Wii on launch day, we all sunk hours into playing Wii Sports Tennis and Boxing. A few days later, my father and I collectively combed through Black Friday ads with my father trying to create a strategy to purchase hot items before they disappeared from shelves. We then woke up early in the morning to wait in line together at Best Buy.
As with many Americans, I treasure Thanksgiving as a time to spend with family and friends. However, unlike many, I anticipate the most commercialized parts of this day as a means to foster my connections to those people, not as a violation of the spirit of the holiday. Were it not for the Wii launch, I would be missing dear memories with my grandparents. Without Black Friday, I would have lost a valuable bonding experience with my father.
Capitalism is not an evil structure that obsesses us with material objects and wealth. Think about the last conversation you had with someone important to you. Chances are, it had something to do with a movie, a piece of clothing, technology, or some other commercial product. Tongue-in-cheek discussions like Apple vs. Samsung rely on markets to promote information sharing, while improved consumer photo and video devices allow us to relive memories more vividly than ever before.
So this Thanksgiving, remember the people you love, but also remember the markets that help make those memories special.