In the United States, the day after Thanksgiving is officially known as Black Friday. Even though it started in the U.S., Black Friday has become a global phenomenon that serves as the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season. People fight lines – and sometimes even each other— in their attempt to score the latest hot deals.

As you read this, there are many people making lists of the things they want to buy on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, myself included. However, what I am most excited about this week is spending quality time with friends and family now that my packed fall schedule is behind me.

While getting a good deal can provide a nice, short-term rush of dopamine, in the end, it’s not our possessions that make us happier in life. What does is the quality of our relationships.

With this in mind, I’ve listed a few of my favorite Thanksgiving/Holiday-related Friday Forwards that serve as helpful reminders for me:

  • What Really Matters: On January 15, 2009, the plane Ric Elias was flying on (US Airways 1549) hit a flock of birds right after takeoff from New York, causing both engines to lose power. Ric reflects on what went through his mind as the captain, “Sully” Sullenberger, prepared for an improbable emergency landing on the Hudson River.
  • Conscious Inaction: This marks the fifth year that U.S. retailer REI will remain closed on Black Friday. Instead of encouraging shopping, they’re promoting their #OptOutside campaign, an initiative designed to inspire people to reconnect—with themselves and others – outdoors.
  • Look-Up, Now: This incredible video by Gary Turk has been viewed by over 60 million people. It offers a powerful reminder of what we are missing when we walk around all day with our heads buried in our screens.

As the holiday season kicks into gear, let’s try and remember the people behind all the gifts that we are buying. While we tend to focus on finding the right color, size or deepest discount, what the receiver often wants most is our attention.

Let’s put down the screen, grab a board game, get outside, and make the holidays about giving our time and focus.

It’s great to find good bargains, but even better to find a new sense of connectedness with those we care about in our lives. That’s the real gift of the holiday season.


Quote of The Week

“As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it is good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same.”


-Donald E. Westlake