Lili – November 20, 2017

Next to the 4th of July, I always think of Thanksgiving as the quintessential American holiday. What could be nicer than hosting the whole family for a traditional meal while giving thanks for all our many blessings? As the girls have gotten older, we’ve introduced a new tradition: planning what we will buy the next day, Black Friday.

You might think that Black Friday (so named because retailers finally turn a profit, as opposed to being “in the red”) would be a strictly American tradition, too. But you’d be wrong. The Danes got their first taste of the day after Thanksgiving sales in 2013. It actually started online only, but each year more stores are joining in the fun (if you consider the idea of storming retailers for the best deals in the wee hours “fun”).

By 2014, a study by the Danish Chamber of Commerce (Dansk Ehrverv) revealed that bargain hunters spent $213 million (1.5 billion kroner) on Black Friday, making it into the top ten of single-day transactions. That’s a lot of “black”! Chamber representative Martin P. Barfoed said, “Black Friday has exploded in recent years….after all, everyone likes a bargain.”

Danes spend 1.5 billion kroner on Black Friday sales in their country.

More than one in five Danes under the age of 30 expects to do some holiday shopping that day, with stores extending their hours, usually from 6 a.m. to midnight. This year, their best bargains are likely to be found in clothing, sports equipment and phones. As they do in America, stores compete to get the highest sales.

And just like Americans, Danes look for bargains in all retail areas. However, some items may be a little different. Rito, for example, is a popular online yarn store that always has a big sale at this time of year. Turns out knitting is so popular in Denmark, there is even a Knitwork Festival in Copenhagen each September.

Black Friday is a time for great deals on knitting supplies in Denmark, an art so popular, there is a knitting festival each year in Copenhagen.

Less surprisingly in this northern country, ski wear is also popular. There are 4.8 km of ski slopes in Denmark that both Danes and visitors enjoy. Even though no mountain is higher than 100 meters, there are year-round opportunities to ski.

The residents of The Danish Home enjoy shopping, too. During my last visit there, I noticed there were definitely fewer people in the Gathering Room than usual, and when I asked, I was told they were out on a trip to Walmart.

That reminded me of the one year, early in our marriage, when Brad and I decided to hit Walmart’s Black Friday sales, as we needed a new vacuum cleaner. It was before we had the girls, so we were able to line up at midnight in the freezing cold, waiting for the doors to open. In our early days every penny counted and, to be honest, shopping in the middle of the night seemed more exciting when we were younger.

As soon as the doors flung open, we all charged in. We’d already looked at a store plan to find the vacuum we wanted and were able to snap it up without much problem. However, the lines were horrendous, even though the store had only just opened. It took us an hour to pay, but we chatted with some nice people as we waited. Brad and I still think about our Black Friday shopping every time we vacuum.

While our enthusiasm for shopping the day after Thanksgiving may have waned, our daughters will most definitely insist on this “Adventure in Retail.” And I won’t be surprised to see some of The Danish Home residents and their families out there on the adventure, too. Happy Thanksgiving, and happy shopping!