What is Black Friday?

So what is black Friday? Yes, it’s the day after Thanksgiving and there are a lot of great sales but where does it come from? It actually stems from the stock market crash of 1869 (not 1929). There was a horrific crash of the gold market that ruined many people, not just the rich either. The 1929 stock market crash actually happened on a Tuesday, but at the time there were numerous comparisons to the black Friday stock crash of 1869. Over time people assume (incorrectly) that the 1929 stock market crash that kicked off the great depression happened on a Friday.

How did it become associated with retail? In the 1950’s the Philadelphia police labeled the Friday after thanksgiving as black Friday as thousands of people would stream into the city. Not to shop but to get ready for the Army Navy game happening on Saturday. There was crime, shopping, all sorts of shenanigans. From there retailers began to market sales to capitalize on the influx of people and call it black Friday sales.

This began to take hold, but many in other cities called it “Big Friday” and a snowball effect occurred. Simply put, one store had a sale so other stores to compete had sales and months turned to years, to decades of this tradition. So much so that many retailers were able to parlay black Friday sales into huge profits putting their business on an annual income of “being in the black”. This is when we really see X-mas marketing go through the roof as more and more retailers started banking on a robust black Friday sale kick off to fuel the ytd corporate earnings.

Next up Christmas….

Here we are in 2021 and this hasn’t changed much, you see all the holiday music, the nonstop adverts etc. We now have a new concept “Cyber Monday” which is beginning to eat away at the traditional black Friday sale concept. You can now shop year round and have things delivered on credit anywhere in the world. Remember in 1957 things were different. Most people didn’t have credit cards, you bought things you could pay cash for. Travel in the U.S. was blossoming with the highway system but it was new. International travel was still fairly limited, compared today and ordering a good or service abroad meant a catalog order you did through mail which would take months to receive.

Black Friday as we know it today is consumerism at its pinnacle. We have been marketed to believe that it is this consumers holiday. When in reality it is the cumulating of a series of events that happened that some clever marketing firm in the 1950’s capitalized on. Have fun out there and remember gift wrapping is only an additional 20.00……

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How to deal with the holidays and family

Yes, its that time of year again. If you live in the west, you have thanksgiving in the states and you have Christmas. 2 major holidays within 30 days of one another. Now there are plenty of anxiety and stress traps around these holidays, we could do multiple blog posts on all of it but today let’s focus on family issues.

If you’re like millions of other people you’re “going home” for the holidays or hosting family. This is a perfect storm, because for many of us the genesis of our anxiety resides in family issues. When we get together for the holidays we have all sorts of avenues in which our minds can dwell to increase our anxiety. From unhappy memories, toxic family members, the same routines on and on.

On top of those triggers your defenses are already low as you’ve likely been engaging in the holiday malaise at work, on the radio (24-7 x mas songs, ugh) commercials, stores on and on. So how do we mitigate this so maybe this holiday season we don’t have a battle with our anxiety?

Below are 3 things that I have done in my life that have helped me:

  • I planned a vacation as a present to myself and my family. So, do you take a vacation every year? If so the holiday season might be a great opportunity for you to go somewhere else and relax. I like this because I get to stay at a nice hotel, don’t have to cook and don’t have to deal with extended family. It isn’t cheap though. Traveling during the holidays can be pricey.
  • I didn’t over do it. Spouses family, my family, kids’ friends, work party, spouses work party. This is the time of year where “people get together” and its likely that you will be invited to more events in this period then at any other time during the year. You must prune out the invitations. Family is important but work parties? I mean don’t you see them enough? Cut out 25% of the invitations or expectations to see people that you have.
  • I focus on the kids. I know it sounds simple doesn’t it? The thing is this is an opportunity to affect the kids positively. If you need to go to these gatherings remember the kids are watching and taking cues from the adults. Do your best, be your best and create positive experiences for them. Often when you focus on the kids, you can glean from them that bit of joy they still have for the holidays. Its not new to you, but to them it still is.

The holiday season is challenging for those of us with Anxiety. It’s at our door step, you can do it. Take it one day at a time, one event at a time and remember you will get through it.

Glogg

It’s time for Glogg!

For all of my Scandinavian readers (yes there are a few), my Norse enthusiasts and general pagans it’s that time! Around thanksgiving is when I create my first batch of Glogg for friends and family. This year we aren’t having many guests but I will still make it. Now this drink isn’t for everyone, it has a lot of booze lol but it is a traditional Scandinavian drink. Its origins are not precise but it goes back many, many years.

What is Glogg? Glogg is a hot spiced wine and liquor punch served in Scandinavian countries as a Christmas drink. It’s often served on St Lucia day 12/13 but has become most identified with the general “holiday season” So how do I make it? Below is a traditional Norwegian recipe that I have been using for years. I use Cognac, but you can use Vodka instead. Remember like any food or drink, the better quality of the ingredients the better the recipe turns out.

Drink and be Merry !

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom or nutmeg
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 large sliced cinnamon stick
  • 1 2-inch piece of ginger, chopped
  • 1.5 cups white sugar
  • ½ 750-ml bottle of Cognac
  • ½ cup of raisins (ROUGHLY)
  • ½ cup sliced almonds (ROUGHLY)

Directions:

Heat the red wine slowly in a saucepot over medium-high heat. Put the cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and ginger in a spice bag (OPTIONAL, YOU CAN JUST PUT THEM IN) and add to the pot. Stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Let this get to a temperature of 175f. Then put in the Cognac, let it simmer for 5-10 min. This depends on the mixtures journey to 175, did it get very hot and you brought the temp down or did you bring the temp up slowly? When the Cognac was added how did the temp drop? This is really the only part of the recipe where you have to be mindful and pay attention to your creation.

After the simmer period (7 min approx.) remove from the heat, cover and let it steep for 1.5 hours. Strain the mixture of the non-liquid ingredients if you used a spice bag or cheese cloth remove it. Reheat slowly on a very low heat.  This is a mulled wine it is supposed to be served warm or hot but not scolding/boiling. Warm enough to see slight wisps of steam rising from the glass.

You can garnish your cups with cinnamon sticks if you like, or powder the top with cinnamon. There are many recipes for Glogg out there, some vanilla based, orange, you can really be creative here.

Happy Holidays!