Agnostic's post from a couple of weeks ago got me wondering at what point Black Friday became a bigger deal than the holiday it follows (or used to follow--it now tends to start on said holiday, or even before the holiday begins).
Well, Google Trends provides a powerful picture of the transition. Here is a comparative graph of search volumes for the term "thanksgiving" and the phrase "black friday", extending back a decade in time:
Notice that over the ten-year period, up to this point more total searches have included Thanksgiving than have included Black Friday, but it is only a matter of time before the latter overtakes the former. On an annual basis, Black Friday took the lead in 2010, and the yearly gap has widened steadily since then.
If there is any better single illustration of how consumerism has come to dominate the American socio-cultural landscape, I'd like--in a masochistic sort of way--to see it.