This Thanksgiving Welcome "Black Friday" in a Whole New Way

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"Black Friday" takes on a new meaning when it's taken to mean time together, unplugged - as opposed to time jetting from deal to deal. As the New York Times points out, Hurricane Sandy was the only time in many teen's lives that they had to be totally off the grid ( Family and relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil suggests families across the country do a mini-black-out this Thanksgiving.

As families were forced to put aside their electronics during Hurricane Sandy, the New York Times suggests that many went totally off the grid for the first time ever ( Family and relationship therapist Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil says families and couples can learn from this forced down time and apply it to their holiday celebrations. "Tech can divide us," she points out, "by causing a power struggle for screen time, and we can learn from the recent days when many of us were without power, without TV, without a computer, Skype, phone and so forth."

Couples had one-on-one time with each other and parents spent quality time with their kids doing things like playing games together, laughing together, staying together in the same room as opposed to curling up with their favorite gadgets in separate rooms. "During Sandy, many families went 'back to basics' and what a great lesson to take forward into this holiday season," suggests Dr. Bonnie. She says people should learn from that black out experience and realize how much deeper relationships can be if tech is put aside for a bit.

To this end, she suggests giving new meaning to "Black Friday" - typically a day of shopping and deal hunting. Instead, she says, "Log off Facebook, put phones aside, don't answer email. Pretend there is no tech at stake, and take the time to be in touch face-to-face, and take a moment for thanksgiving." It's similar to Michelle Obama's moratorium on tech for her kids. Dr. Bonnie suggests that if it takes something like Sandy - what she calls a "brush with death" - to come along and stop the world, forcing people to unplug and slow down for a minute, there are important lessons to be learned. Families need to take better notice of each other and stop taking each other for granted. "People should use this brush with death as a call to appreciate each other. Couples should offer 'verbal aphrodisiacs' to each other daily - tell the other person how important and loved they are!"

As the New York Times article points out, people went through withdrawal from not being able to partake in their normal tech behaviors, but kids also got more attention from working parents, spouses had a chance to focus on each other, workaholics learned to unwind and relax. Dr. Bonnie says some complained of too much closeness: "It's a sad sign that our culture needs to do better with spending time together - we need to get used to the closeness!"

Families and couples shouldn't go back to "zoning out" with each other until another brush with death comes along. Do other things to stay bonded, be thankful for your relationships, and set boundaries for technology - adults and children alike! Dr. Bonnie suggests doing grateful exercises - each person in the family should sit down and list things they're thankful for, then share that with their partner, children, and friends. "We should all have gratitude for what we have, in light of the storm, the holiday, and every day." she says.

To see Dr. Bonnie talk more about getting your relationship back on track click here: and here: And check out her “5 Star Video Contributor" via YouTube/Google” Also, read her book Make Up Don't Break Up with the DVD Falling in Love and Staying in Love.

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