Try our SDG Course for FREE!

Black Friday (Upper-Intermediate – C1)

Black Friday - Transcript

Black Friday is a colloquial term for the Friday after Thanksgiving in the United States. It traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season. Many stores offer discounted prices and often open early, sometimes as early as midnight. Some stores continue to offer discounts until the following Monday, or even longer. Since the early 2000s, Black Friday has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. Stores often operate at a financial loss for most of the year. In accounting, negative values are recorded in the financial records in red ink, while profits are recorded in black ink. Since many stores only begin to become profitable during the Christmas shopping season, which begins on the day after Thanksgiving, the day became known as “Black Friday.”

Black Friday - Video

Black Friday - Video Gap Fill

Why not try a Video Gap Fill assignment based on this lesson?

Black Friday - More Information

I hope you enjoyed our free English lesson on the topic of Black Friday. If you are curious about this topic, I’ve provided additional information below. Please read it and feel free to leave a comment.

Black Friday shoppers - Base English

Black Friday: A Short History

In our modern consumer culture, Black Friday has become and event that is greeted with great enthusiasm and anticipation. It marks the official beginning of the holiday shopping season, and usually features products that are highly discounted from their normal prices. Let’s explore the roots, meaning, and global impact of this annual shopping tradition.

The Origins

To discover the origins of Black Friday, you must go back to the early 20th century, and the iconic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. This remains a huge event that celebrates both the Thanksgiving holiday and consumerism. The busiest time of the year for Macy’s Department Store has always been the Christmas shopping season. Although for many years there was no official start date to the season, Macy’s began advertising their Christmas sales immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday. Over time, this came to serve as the official beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

The term “Black Friday” didn’t come along until the 1960s. In bookkeeping the expression “in the red” means that a business is losing money. This is because negative figures are recorded in the company’s books in red ink. The expression, “in the black” means that the business is profitable. The reason for this is that positive figures are recorded in black ink.

You may be wondering what all this has to do with Black Friday? Well, large retailers often lose money for part of the year, but with the arrival of the Christmas season, they begin to earn a profit. Because these businesses are now “in the black,” the start of the Christmas shopping season came to be know as “Black Friday.”    

Black Friday Today: More Than Just Shopping

Fast-forward to the present day, and Black Friday has transformed into a cultural tradition. It’s still about shopping (and large discounts on products), but it also symbolizes the start of the holiday season. People begin preparing their Christmas decorations, making holiday plans, and spreading Christmas cheer with cards, gifts, and celebrations.

Black Friday Shopping

From America to the World

Black Friday’s influence is no longer felt only in America. Countries across the world, from Canada to Korea have eagerly adopted this tradition. Although the day after Thanksgiving may not be a public holiday in these regions, the prospect of eager shoppers has prompted businesses to adopt the Black Friday marketing strategy into their operations.

Controversies and Criticisms

The holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas are hugely important in American culture. They remind people of the importance of giving thanks and spending time with friends and family. But as Black Friday has expanded globally, the focus has shifted away from the true spirit of the holiday season. Rather than being a time for gratitude and reflection, it has become an occasion for thoughtless spending.  Environmental concerns have also arisen. People are now questioning the sustainability of the increased production and consumption associated with Black Friday.

Beyond the Shops and Stores

Although people still do much of their shopping in physical stores, more and more transactions are happening online. Black Friday has adapted well to the digital age, and online sales and promotions are now even more common than those offered in traditional shops. Although the places where people shop has changed, the spectacle of Black Friday seems here to stay. 


Black Friday’s journey from its origins in American retail to a global event is perhaps not so surprising. In the days since the start of Black Friday, the world has become much more globalized. The tradition has expanded alongside the shopping habits of the people. While we once bought everything we needed not far from our homes, these days we make purchases all around the world. 

Whether you embrace Black Friday for its thrilling deals or criticize it for distracting us from the true meaning of the holiday season, there is no denying that it has had a huge effect on the habits of people worldwide.

What are your thoughts about Black Friday? Is it good or bad? Leave a comment below.




Latest Posts

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Pin It on Pinterest

Share This
Never Miss A Lesson!

Join thousands of English learners and get our latest lessons delivered to you each week!

Join Base English for free!

Are you studying English? Why not sign up and get our latest lessons sent directly to your inbox? Start learning now!

Join Base English for free!

Are you studying English? Why not sign up and get our latest lessons sent directly to your inbox? Start learning now!