Over the years, I've taken up this space to write about Black Friday from the side of the shopper and the side of the guy who happily stayed home.

Years ago, I had a sister who first introduced the day to me. I had never heard of Black Friday at that point.

So I went. I survived. I can't honestly remember ever thinking I saved so much money that it was worth the hand-to-hand and elbow-to-chin contact.

Then I stopped going and decided getting up that early on a cold morning and waiting in line with people who didn't bother to shower or brush their teeth wasn't worth it.

Over the years, I started to think it's a shame Thanksgiving is just a day to fuel up and plot strategy.

Now, I just don't care.

Black Friday has been surpassed by Gray Thursday and whatever color you want to assign to Wednesday.

I read a comment from some person recently who felt moving the sales up before Thanksgiving was horrible.

I figure live and let live. Who am I to judge?

Yes, I still feel we should care more about getting together for the holidays than getting knocked over or knocking someone over for 40 percent off.

When I was a kid, and yes Virginia, that was a long time ago, stores closed on Thanksgiving. My brothers and sisters came home, and Mom made the best turkey dinner I've ever had.

That was our day, and it's still some of the best memories I have.

The guys waited for dinner while Mom and my sisters cooked. We complained about how long it was taking, ate until we couldn't eat anymore until dessert was served and watched football.

What a great day.

Shopping started after Thanksgiving. As a kid, I had been looking through the JC Penney catalog for a month by then, but I knew it was no use talking about Santa until we had moved on to Thanksgiving leftovers.

Times change.

The world has gotten smaller and people more restless. Staying at home only feels good after we've been someplace else.

Nothing stays the same. At one time, no one could imagine cell phones, let alone Apps from stores letting us know what bargains they have.

But I do not believe all is lost in a 100-person pile on Black Friday morning.

I say let the shoppers shop, and let the people who want to stay home, stay home.

Instead of being upset at those who want to get up and fight through crowds, let them be.

If you're one who enjoys this day and makes a family outing of it, enjoy.

If you would rather stay home, tucked inside your warm bed, good for you.

The shopping part isn't for me. I would love to sleep in, but I'll be at work, like a lot of you.

I don't want to get too worked up at the decisions others make.

If someone wants to shop at 4 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving, fine. Here's my list.

Thanksgiving is just about here, and Christmas will follow. Celebrate them both any way you want, just enjoy the holidays and the people with whom you share them.

Patrick Murphy, of Humphrey, Neb., is a former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.