Here's one holiday tradition we could do without -- stores creeping their black Friday openings ever earlier.
It used to be retailers kicked off the Christmas shopping season bright and early the Friday morning after Thanksgiving.
And diehard shoppers braved the crowds, lured by promises of deep discounts offered for one day and one day only.
Over the years, however, morning became midnight, and now more and more retailers are offering door busters before the Thanksgiving plates are even cleared. Macy's was the latest to enter the fray, announcing recently its West Manchester Mall store would open at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving Day, enabling shoppers to find deals "after families across the country have finished their holiday meals and celebrations."
But it doesn't leave much family time for shoppers and store employees.
Talk about eating and running.
In fact, said 67-year-old York Township resident Janis Pichtel, "When 8 p.m. rolls around on Thanksgiving, I'm drained. The last thing I want to do is go to a store."
Last year, Kmart, Sears, Toys R Us and Walmart opened at 8 p.m., and Target opened at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.
The move paid off big for the retailers, which reported record black Friday sales in 2012, according to the National Retail Federation. Retailers raked in $59.1 billion in sales, compared to $52.4 billion spent in 2011, the trade organization reported.
Not everyone, it seems, frowns on holiday shopping on a holiday.
"I'll go whenever they open, even if I have to eat my dinner in the parking lot," said Nicole Buchar, a 35-year-old West York resident.
With that kind of dedication, what incentive is there, really, for retailers to reverse course?
They'll keep selling earlier and earlier as long as buyers keep showing up in droves.
If some find that offensive or insensitive, they should stay home.
No one is forcing them to leave their families in search of discounts.
Now, if enough people did that, retailers just might return Thanksgiving to their customers.