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Raging against the Black Friday machine

Posted by BJ Roche  November 18, 2011 04:37 PM

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Let me get this straight. I have to pass through the Christmas decorations aisle to buy my Thanksgiving turkey. I'm supposed to clean my house like a white tornado and organize a re-enactment of the invasion of Normandy plan, shop, and cook a meal for 14 people, clean up after this meal, dispose of a puppy-sized turkey carcass, and then, after having barely slept off the Pinot, get up and head out before dawn for a deal on a new flatscreen?

Are you kidding me? Who comes up with this stuff?

And why do we go along with it?

Never mind Christmas; let's take back the day after Thanksgiving. If you've got the day off, why spend it at the mall?

There's organized resistance in the form of Buy Nothing Day, which is scheduled this year for Nov. 25 and 26.

Here's my home alternative: Pajama Friday. It's a pleasant counter to Black Friday, a time-to-time tradition with a few friends in which as little as possible constructive activity takes place and you never get out of your pajamas. It begins with a pie-and-coffee cleanse in the morning, and goes as long as you can keep it going.

Pajama Friday takes a little planning, but the day's to-do list is simple: get up. Yack with a partner or old friend over coffee. Eat some pie. Maybe put away a few dishes. Afternoon: microwave a little stuffing and gravy and pop in an entire season of a really, really good TV show: Damages, Six Feet Under, The Wire, The Sopranos, Mad Men, whatever you haven't seen. We've got Treme on the schedule this year.


You'll probably feel a little peckish toward evening; for this you'll need bagels with Julia Child's smoked trout spread (see recipe below), maybe a little soup. Then it's time for a super-guilty-pleasure movie.

You could go old school with a classic like "The Way We Were" or "Dr. Zhivago"; mix it up with a Richard Gere Film Festival, or go with the crime genre - we've enjoyed "Double Indemnity," "Strangers on a Train," "The Godfather," "Catch Me If You Can" and "Blow," which features an entertaining and particularly heinously-coiffed Johnny Depp.


After a slothful 24 hours, you'll find yourself in a whole other zone of consciousness. You may find you have the strength to get up on Saturday and dig out the Christmas lights. Or not. Maybe you'll realize that you don't really need to get them on the porch until next week. Or mid-December. That's not too late, really.

And that's the real value of Pajama Friday. Life is short, holidays are long. Let the resistance begin.


Smoked Trout Spread
(From Baking with Julia)
2 cups (packed) skinned and flaked smoked trout (about 1 pound fillets)
3/4 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 cup (packed) minced scallions (the white part and about 2 inches of the green)
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh, flat-leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor fit with the metal blade. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped but not pureed. Take care not to over-process the spread - it should not be like a mousse.

Chilling the spread: Spoon into a container, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight. Remove the spread from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving.

Storing: Well-covered, the spread will keep in the refrigerator 2 to 3 days.


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About the author

BJ Roche is a writer and teacher who lives in Western Massachusetts. She’s a senior lecturer in the Journalism Program at UMass Amherst, where she teaches writing, new media and More »

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