What’s left of the turkey sits in a pitiful pile of bones, a mouthwatering centerpiece reduced to the ghost of a gargantuan feast. The mashed potatoes are long gone, pleasantly resting in the bellies of a family who has surrendered to food-induced comas.

   The pumpkin pie? History. All of a sudden, the clock strikes midnight, and in homes all across the country, it’s game-time. You guessed it: Black Friday.

   For those still unclear on what exactly Black Friday is, it is the day after Thanksgiving where countless retailers and stores offer tantalizingly priced goods.

   Marked as the first official day of Christmas shopping, the annual highlight of any retail business, sales run rampant in efforts to start profits off with a bang.

   The one day of the year where the nation celebrates family and appreciation is followed shortly by a day where people have died over material items.

   To this day, Black Friday has accounted for seven deaths and 98 injuries and counting. The fact that such a holiday is marred by the prospect of “amazing” sales at the end of seems to mock the ideals that it represents.    

   How is it possible to celebrate appreciation and thankfulness when half of the holiday is consumed by the anticipation of incredible sales of various items?

   If New Year’s Day had a 50 percent off sale on all pizzas across the country, I think I speak for the general consensus that resolutions made regarding health the day before would be tossed out the window without a second glance.

   The truth stands that no one can whole-heartedly celebrate Thanksgiving and then go wild at Black Friday at the same time.

   In fact, even the true meaning of Christmas is lost in the whirlwind of buying. Marketing tactics force people to believe that they need more and more, and that the people around them need more and more as well.

   Gift-giving is supposed to stem from well wishes and symbols of love and friendship, not obligation.

   The irony of seeing people driven to physically hurt one another right after a day of gratitude is sickening.

   The pathetically long line of tents outside the local Sears, the overwhelming number of people packed into a shopping complex, are all part of the Black Friday experience.

   I’m not saying the experience itself is a bad thing, it is just that the unfortunate placement of the day overpowers what is an otherwise important holiday for everyone to respect.

   So this Thanksgiving, be sure to take a step back and acknowledge how lucky you are to be where you are with the people surrounding you. And try not to trample anyone on your way into the mall.