No longer will anxious consumers be forced to wait until 4 a.m. on Black Friday. This year, several companies, including Target, Toys R Us, and Walmart, are obligingly opening their doors Thanksgiving night, with at least a couple opening as early as 8 p.m. …

If you have a family member who has been eying a new computer or another electronic device, expect to hear goodbye before there’s even been a chance to whip out the pumpkin pie. This is what it has come to in our consumption-driven culture: We can’t even set aside a whole day to cherish what we have without buying yet more.

In these tough economic times, I completely understand why people are looking for bargains, whether for themselves or for their loved ones’ holiday gifts. But there’s no reason sales can’t start on Black Friday — not Thanksgiving….

The American character has always been restless, driven and ambitious. …

But if we are always focused on the next purchase, we’re working toward a series of ends in which we never allow ourselves to savor our achievements.