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Feeling thankful in the current climate isn't easy for us all.

Byline: Carrie Carlisle

APPY Black Friday, folks!

How will you celebrate this momentous occasion? Will you go on the internet and buy things you don't need, with money you don't have? Just as our forefathers did? I will.

It just appeared out of nowhere for us Brits, did good old Black Friday. And nobody even bothered to introduce it as something new.

Everyone just started to refer to it, as though it had always been part of our culture. And we all felt too daft to ask what the blazes it was.

It's the Emperor's New Clothing equivalent of an event. We all pretend we know why it's happening. And most of us don't have a clue.

For Americans, it arrives the day after Thanksgiving and has been around for years.

The name refers to shops finally turning a profit, for the year. it's when retail outlets go from being "in the red" to being "in the black."

I lived in the States as a child. Just long enough to have a Thanksgiving or two.

I remember it being a lot like Christmas. But with no presents, and far more fancy dress costumes.

The turkey was very Christmassy to me. But not to the Americans, who eat ham or beef as their Christmas meat, presumably because nobody wants to cook massive turkeys, twice, in the space of a month.

As a bona fide grown up (by that I mean someone who has her own kitchen, family who live nearby and proper utensils to cook with), I love having people over for Thanksgiving and getting them to try the dishes that seemed so strange to me, as a kid. Yams covered in marshmallows, for instance.

Back when I wasn't quite an adult, I would go to the Hippodrome in London and spent the evening, through to the early hours, watching NFL games with my American football friends. It was 12 hours of geeking out of stats, while eating chicken wings. I loved it, though I wouldn't want to do it now.

I cook Thanksgiving dinner for our extended family these days, then we all sit in the living room, in a circle, and share one thing that we are thankful for right at this moment. It's lovely, it really is.

Some people give lengthy explanations. Others keep it short and sweet. Somewhat surprisingly, I'm the latter. Not because I'm unwilling to share. More because I'm enjoying the moment so much, I'd rather observe it unfolding than dilute the feeling with words.

A whole day of being deliberately thankful. Isn't that a wonderful thing? I feel thankful often. But Thanksgiving is the one occasion when I surrender to this emotion wholeheartedly.

I have so much to be thankful for. A husband who had to fight so hard to stay alive and be by my side. A baby I thought I had left it far too late to have. In-laws who treat me like I've always been part of their family.

I'm thankful for my job - that I get to work as a team with Mr C, travel all over the country, meet thousands of people and share our experiences of adverse mental health, and joyful recovery.

I'm so very thankful for my mam, who gives up so much of her time, to look after Baby C and is unwavering in her support of us, in every sense imaginable.

I'm thankful for good health, both mental and physical, and that we have a beautiful home, that we can afford to heat. I'm thankful for fantastic food that we have the resource to cook and share.

I could genuinely go through all my days feeling thankful.

At the same time, I understand that not everyone is going to be feeling thankful, on this occasion, especially during such precarious times of retail employment.

Think of House of Fraser's imminent closure and the hundreds of people who will be helping others prepare for a magical Christmas, all the while knowing they face unemployment in the new year.

I won't be spending my Black Friday pounds at the MetroCentre, this year, or any shopping mall, for that matter.

I'm spending my money on smaller companies this Black Friday - on people who make things at home, and aren't held to random over extortionate retail rent.

Happy Black Friday to you. I'm thankful that you are free to do as you choose, I'll see you next week, on the other side of the bargain-hunting.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Nov 23, 2018
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