Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Many people claim Halloween, for its fun and frenzy, and others Christmas, for its yuletide cheer. For me, Halloween was always a time of business in my family and Christmas, while lovely, has most certainly been slightly tainted by the stress of procuring gifts for others, the pressures to remind those you care about that you do, in fact, care about them.

That’s why I love Thanksgiving. It may be the first “American” holiday (obviously debatable, but we’ll go with the legends for now), its sole tradition to sit around and eat delicious food. At the best of times, friends and family can gather around each other and get a chance to remind each other what they are thankful for. Ours is such a short life, I like any chance I can to tell people I love them and why.

Which is why, naturally, this Black Friday insanity drives me bonkers. There’s already plenty of literature and blog posts about this Thanksgiving phenomenon, like Matt Walsh’s piece on the dangers of conflating consumerism and capitalism. But I want to talk about a different kind of Black Friday, the kind that I got to have yesterday.

We can all agree (I hope) that chain stores forcing underpaid workers to work on one of the few holidays they are usually guaranteed off is not nice. But in the little alcove of Historic Railroad Square in Santa Rosa, CA, a different kind of black friday was going on.

My mother owns a vintage clothing and costume rental store, Hot Couture Vintage Fashion. I grew up in Railroad Square, hopping up and down the blocks past antique stores, artisan shops and novelty item shops. The people who own these businesses work in these stores. You’ll typically see owners minding their shop, out on the street having a smoke. My mom took my sister and myself on a walk around Railroad Square, and it reminded me what business really is.

Business is not huge faceless corporations promising deals delivered from on high. Business is people trading for goods, business is a way for people to get what they need (or want) and it offers a chance for humans to interact. All over town, we got to say hi to old friends and business partners. This is the kind of practice that made America grow. The face to face interaction of everyday living brings people together in an odd way, the way a small town just keeps plodding along everyday. It was great to see people in their shops, living it up and being around each other.

The other part of the day was me taking pictures and video for a video slideshow my mom wants to make. I got to say, taking pictures of beautiful women in hot clothing definitely appeals to me.

Kayla Hendrix, one of the models for our Black Friday Photoshoot

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving with friends and family. And if you shopped on Black Friday, I hope you did it in local shops and got to have a conversation with someone who could really use your money.